ODJ: peace to you

Recently as I sat in a circle of leaders from our church, a woman asked a simple question, provoking rich discussion. “What are your hopes for our church?” There were several responses, for our little community has many hopes. But on that night this spilled out of me: “I hope we become more and more the kind of people who learn to resist the anxieties of this world because we believe Jesus is with us and that Jesus is doing something with us.”

I’ve come to believe, more and more, that one of the signs of God’s presence with us is our ability to experience Jesus’ peace amid a world flooded with fear, restlessness, and suspicion. The ability to receive and live by Jesus’ peace is what I hope for me. And this is what I hope for the people in my life.

After Jesus’ resurrection, two of His followers walked on the road from Emmaus, and “Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them” (v.36). The reaction, however, was not delight or joy, but terror. “The whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!” (v.37). How else would you react if the Lord of the Universe stood before you after you had seen the Roman powers nail the God-man to a cross?!

To these frightened souls, Jesus said, “Peace be with you” and “Why are you frightened?” and “Why are your hearts filled with doubt?” (vv.36,38).

When Jesus arrives, peace or well-being arrives as well. Whenever our hearts are riddled with uncertainty or despair, however our heaviest questions press upon us, wherever we are desperate for hope, for light, for the promise that God can make beauty out of ruin—Jesus says, “Peace be with you.”

—Winn Collier

365-day-plan: Exodus 4:1-17