These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
Peace can be a hard thing to hold on to. I know it was for me. We don't have to look far to know why. Social media and television keep us connected to a 24-hour news cycle of polarizing politics, social unrest, economic woes, reports of war, and the devastation of natural disasters. Add that to the struggles we have in our personal lives—illnesses, school worries, employment uncertainty, and child rearing—and it can be overwhelming.
Two years ago, I felt the full weight of many of those worries. The world I grew up in was changing so much, so fast—and not for the better. I found myself fearful of the future.
I prayed daily for peace. "Peace for the world, God. If that is not Your will, then peace for my country. And if that is not Your will, then peace for my community. And if that is not Your will, then peace in my own heart and in the hearts of my family." But every day, I found new reasons to be overcome with anxiety, frustration, worry, and hopelessness.
That was, in large part, because at the time I had no church family to lean on. I had long ago fallen out of the habit of going to church in my adult years. I never questioned my faith, but I made plenty of excuses for not finding a church home. And in place of a church family, slowly over time, I found I was surrounding myself with good people, but people who didn't know Christ. Theirs were secular values; they saw the world and our future through a worldly lens. There was no comfort to be found there.
But God answers prayers, in His own time and in His own way. I had prayed for peace, and He reminded me that I was in the world, but not of the world. Christ, through His grace, had saved me and set me aside. My judgment was not the world's judgment, because Christ loved me enough to carry my sins with Him on the cross. My future rested in His hands, and there was no safer place to be. Those hands were making a place for me in His father's kingdom.
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
I knew I had to surround myself with people who knew what that meant. And two months later, I found my church home at South Main Baptist Church.
May we all find peace in knowing that our Savior loved us so much that He stepped down from His throne in Heaven, clothed Himself in flesh, lowered Himself to be among us, loved us, taught us, performed miracles for us, suffered for us, died for us, redeemed us, conquered death for us, and intercedes with the Father for us.
To Him, we matter that much.