“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27
Jesus told this to his disciples as he was informing them he was leaving. Can you imagine how confused they felt at the very idea of him leaving? This man whom they had seen heal the sick, quiet storms, cast out demons, and feed 5,000 was leaving and they were not suppose to be troubled?
As I pondered this word, I did my usual and started with the dictionary and was really surprised to find the definition of peace as “the absence of conflict.” WOW! Is that all! As I reread the passage the phrase “not as the world gives”, I knew I had to go much deeper.
I thought of the Hebrew word for peace, “Shalom”, and found a much fuller meaning. The root meaning would be translated more accurately when speaking of wholeness, completeness, well-being. It means being whole and holy in our souls. When I hear those words I know the feelings those words surface, which are, safe, sound, perfect, and harmonious without and within. But in reality how often do I actually experience that? How often do I actually share that?
How much time do I worry about things, people and the world? How often do I “let” my heart or my head get caught up in fear and life’s troubles? The answer is more times than I would like. So how do we shift from this to the peace Shalom, that perfect peace?
The answer of course has more to do with “focus”. BJ Gallagher and Mac Anderson have written a small, but powerful book called “Learning to Dance in the Rain: The power of Gratitude.” Do you ever remember dancing in the rain? I do! I use to love it when there was a gentle rain and I would deliberately go out and walk (usually with an umbrella in hand) and it was so peaceful. I also remember the old movie/song “Singing in the Rain”. I could watch Gene Kelly dance all night. The line just before he begins dancing sets the stage, “….from where I stand the sun (Son) is shining all over the place.” The play on words brings on a whole new meaning. This is the peace Jesus calls us to. It is a peace that provides the energy and vitality needed to walk through life! It is the peace that provides a heart to reach out to one another. It is the peace that provides the food to nourish souls.
Our challenge this week is to practice our focus. Focus on the grace, love, and promises of Papa God. Practice by focusing on what we have been given, His Son. It was in Jesus’ entry into this world that the world changed. It was in His death that we were given the “gift of grace.” The gift of grace changes our lives. Peace is found in the focus of Grace! Shalom
Leanne Urban Hermit