“Peace I leave with you; my peace [shalom] I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
We’ve all struggled with life’s adversities to some extent. Often, in my experiences, just when I thought I could easily discern God’s plan for my comfortable life, suddenly ? and without warning ? I experienced life interrupted. Adversity and anxiety shattered my illusionary spiritual serenity.
Throughout life, society indoctrinates us with an insatiable appetite for self-satisfaction and entitlement. Societal misconception or flawed theology suggests that God exists to provide us with an excess-filled, comfortable life ? inciting us to perceive perpetual bliss as the norm for a Christian. This illegitimate and idealistic illusion causes many believers to experience a troubled heart. They question God’s sovereignty and presence in their lives because they experience no enduring, soul satisfying serenity.
In John’s gospel, Jesus distinguishes the world’s peace from His peace. The world’s peace, although enticing, is illusionary and temporary. The Hebrew word for peace is shalom; however, it conveys a much deeper meaning of complete and whole wellness. When Jesus imparts to them His shalom, He reminds His disciples that adversity and anxiety are coming, and in this world, they will encounter life interrupted. However, He reassures them that in Him, they shall experience enduring satisfying shalom, because He is Shalom.
Are you experiencing life interrupted? Take heart ? God has not thrown you to life’s lions. Only Jesus can shelter our fragile troubled hearts amidst life’s unexpected and unwelcome crises. Scripture encourage us to always pursue shalom, not as a temporary emotional fix for our momentary misfortune, but as the forever accessible, always available, perfect peace of His presence.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that you are my ever present Savior who overcomes the world and never leaves me alone. In the midst of life’s often unpredictable crises, protect my heart from trouble and help me to pursue your presence. Preserve me with the assurance of your present and perfect Shalom. Amen.
By Allan Mitchell