"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." John 14:27
"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." John 16:33
Why, if Jesus gives peace, do I live in fear? Why do I think I need to (or am even able to) control the circumstances of my life and the lives of my children in order to bring about a positive and peaceful outcome?
I've been thinking a lot about these questions in light of the statements Jesus made before He returned to heaven. He knew the plan. He knew that it included some wretched things for him, for those to whom he was speaking, and for us as 21st century believers. And yet the thing He leaves is peace, not as the world gives or expects where the livin' is easy, but a rocky, painful, rip your heart out of your chest type of peace.
I've equated peace with safe, hence we not only wear our bike helmets and avoid trans fats, but we've steered clear of those things that could possibly exert a spiritually corrupting influence on our children, encasing them in what Tim Kimmel refers to as a "hermetically sealed Christian environment." But Christianity is not safe. It's more like a motorcycle ride at 100 mph. Down a country road. At night. With no windshield. And no helmet. Danger, discomfort, lack of vision, bugs in the teeth, and pain are all possible and even probable, but the thing is, Jesus is steering.
Jesus' point was not that we huddle together and make ourselves comfortable until He returns. He sent us out into a terribly dangerous world with a clear understanding that things are going to be messy. There will be pain, misery, and heartache. We're called to experience it as well as clean it up. Yet we have the assurance of knowing that He sees, He cares, and He's got it all under control.
I'm not sure how all of this is going to play out in our family's life. We've spent a lot of time in the land of potluck and ladies' nights and Bible clubs. But I do know we need to step out of our safe Christian bubble in order to be the hands and feet of Christ to the world around us.