John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
This is an especially appropriate promise for me (and my family) today. After three weeks of celebration (for Bethany and Ruth and with Abbie and Hannah), we said good-bye yesterday to Abbie and her girls as they got on a plane for the long trip back to Nepal. It leaves a sadness in the pit of one’s stomach. There are some comforts, of course: my best friend is still by my side, the children who are here are still a joy to love, Ruth and Joseph are back from their honeymoon and will be in the area for at least a little while, and we leave on vacation Thursday to see Hannah in Pennsylvania.
But the greatest comfort, and the only true comfort, has to come from Jesus. As he himself is about to go away from his disciples, he promises that he will not leave them permanently, but is going to prepare a permanent place for them (John 14:1). And for every day until then, he promises the comfort of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). Finally, he promises peace – he leaves peace; he gives peace – and it is not the transient circumstance-driven peace that we can momentarily find in this world – this is a whole new kind of wholeness that finds entire satisfaction and rest in Him (cf. Matthew 11:28, Isaiah 30:15).
So, he says, do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid. ‘Troubled’ is the Greek word for a stirred up sea under the impact of a storm. But he tells us that being thus stirred up is optional – we can let it happen, or not. We can be afraid or not. It reminds me of the image we thought about last year – that the surface of the sea may be in turmoil, but if we dwell in the depths (of his love, of his presence, of his comfort, of his peace) the surface disturbance will never reach us.