In John 16:33 Jesus tells the disciples they can have peace even in the midst of trouble. Since peace and trouble don’t seem to go together, what did Jesus mean? He wanted the disciples to understand that real, lasting peace had nothing to do with circumstances. Trouble is a given in life, but it presents an opportunity to exhibit peace by allowing Christ to evidence his life in and through us.
When trouble comes, our first inclination is to believe God has deserted us or doesn’t care about our plight. We look for proof of God’s love by expecting him to rescue us from our difficult circumstance. In short, we place our security in our circumstances changing. But what if our security rested on our beliefs about the goodness of God’s nature and character? What if we rested in the one guiding our circumstances, and believed we could trust him no matter what we felt?
Much of our pain stems from our worry about “why”. Why did God allow this, why is this happening to me, why would a good God allow me to suffer? We may never find answers to those questions, so we need to release them and rest instead in what Jesus says are the secrets to having peace. Here is what he wants us to consider from this passage:
- We can choose peace.
- We shouldn’t equate peace with the absence of trouble.
- We can choose to not let our circumstances, or even our understanding of our circumstances, determine our peace—but to instead trust the one who holds our circumstances.
In spite of what Jesus had shown them, the disciples were convinced that their security rested in the knowing of what was happening to them. But knowing answers only provides an illusion of peace. Jesus points out that in spite of all they said they believed about him, in a moment the disciples were thrown into confusion about what was happening, choosing to run away and deny they even knew him!
Aren’t we guilty of the same thing? We know all kinds of things about God, we say we trust him, we say we believe in his goodness—but it doesn’t take long for confusion to set in when calamity strikes. Instead of trusting the one who controls what is happening, we demand answers. But answers won’t be the glue that holds together a heart that is hemorrhaging. More is required. And Jesus gave us a real life example of what that looks like.
Jesus chose to trust the Father in the garden when he prayed for deliverance from death. He knew that the one guiding the circumstances of his life knew what he was doing, even though it meant suffering. The secret to Jesus’ choice was simple: he trusted God.
So the next time you’re looking for answers or feel like you have to know why, remember to do what Jesus did and choose to trust the Father.
Peace will follow.
P.S. We’d love to know your thoughts, so please be sure to comment below. Each of our commenters will be entered in a drawing for our current FREE book giveaway, Mothers & Daughters: Mending a Strained Relationship by author Teena Stewart.
Rita Schulte is a licensed professional board certified counselor. She received her B.S. in psychology and a master’s degree in counseling from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Rita has a private practice with offices in Fairfax and Manassas Virginia where she specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, anxiety and depressive disorders as well as grief and loss issues. In April, 2011 she launched “Heartline Podcast” where she talks with top leaders in the Christian counseling and literary world about cutting edge issues affecting the hearts and lives of people today. She also airs a 1 minute devotional spot Consider This on 90.5 FM in NC and 90.9 FM in Lynchburg, VA. Heartline airs on Saturday evenings on 90.5 FM NC and will be heard on Christian Life Internet Radio in the coming months. Her book, Sifted As Wheat: finding hope and healing through the losses of life is currently with Hartline Literary Agency. You can follow her at http://www.siftedaswheat.com or Twitter at Heartlinepod.
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