- “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
I know I’m not the only one who is stressed, tired, and frustrated. Many of us were still reeling from 2020 when the New Year brought new and just-as-bad-or-maybe-worse experiences.
You may feel like what you need to make it all better is a check from the government. You may feel like hazard pay would do the trick. Maybe your problems are deeper–more permanent. You need to file bankruptcy after this year or you’re grieving the loss of a loved one.
Whatever has stolen your peace this year is compounded by the isolation and “bad news blues” of our current times.
If you’re seeking peace…
You’re in luck because you don’t have to look far. If you look in the gospels, you will find many red letters to describe the kind of peace that was available to the disciples even as those same words of Christ warn them of trials and persecution to come. This is the same peace readily available to us now.
If you’re worried about tomorrow…
Within the many beautiful lessons that Jesus taught in his ministry is one tucked into Matthew chapter 6. In a time when fishermen didn’t eat if the fish weren’t biting (or traveling near the nets), Jesus said not to worry. At a time when your race determined whether you could work, where you could travel, and whom you could marry, Jesus said not to worry. At a time when kings of nations waged war on children, Jesus said not to worry.
Jesus doesn’t merely tell his listeners not to worry about the big things–he tells them not to worry about the little things, about all things.
Food, water, clothing, shelter, the future–these are the worries of Jesus’ audience, but He says not to worry (Matthew 6:25-34).
If your worry is ruling you…
Just before Jesus’ message about worry, there is an often-recited verse about riches. He says plainly in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (riches).” He mentions serving two masters (God and riches) and then moves directly into “do not worry”.
What do we do when we worry? Many of us look for security in money. We want a savings account with a “rainy day” fund. We want a good job with all the types of insurance we can muster. We want cash-on-hand. We work ourselves to the bone to make this happen. When something does happen to rock our lifestyle, the first worry we have is money. What will it cost to fix this? is often our first thought.
I know this because we popped a tire this week and had to call a plumber. The first thing we did was google the costs of both–and then…worry.
Seek ye first…
The Bible says when we seek first the kingdom of God, all the things we worry over will be added to us.
Does that mean that God is going to pay for our new tire when we accidentally drive over a curb? Does it mean we’ll get a divine donation when it’s time to pay the plumber to rebuild 100-year-old pipe? No.
What I’ve come to realize is that seeking God first puts everything else in focus.
Do we have to wait for heaven for the kind of peace that Jesus promises? Many people think so–are afraid so–, but I disagree. I know peace exists here on earth when we bring ourselves closer to the peacemaker.