I have had to stay off social media more than normal this week. There was too much needed discussion about “rape culture” and “hook up culture”. Every time I logged on I felt a weight of concern for so many women for whom I knew the threads of awareness would be a trigger. Who am I kidding, I had to check my own emotions as well. I am not typically susceptible to triggers. The healing I have experienced reaches deep and wide, but every once in a while old experiences and memories sneak up on me.
Then a singer was slain, and the next morning Orlando. Oh Orlando, how I wished I had words that in some way, in any way might be helpful. I wanted to cry out, but for some things there are no words.
In all the stripping away, in the weeping with those who weep, in the dark night of the soul’s grief—when the brokenness of the world has become too brazen—peace is not completely lost.
In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.~ Jesus (John 16:33)
There is a God who is bigger, a story that looms larger than the horror, and a peace that meets inner turmoil with the hope that this world has been overcome. Society breaks down; people suffer (or worse, serve) terror; there is much that is troubling to the soul. Peace can still be mine. It is a promise from the Savior who knew that darkness would persistently press in.
Peace does not come from 24-hour security monitoring. It will not come because I have a gun or live in a home without one. It won’t even visit when the world accepts me just as I am, for peace is an elusive mistress when it depends on what we can give, buy, or control.
The peace that surpasses understanding comes from a deep trust in the hope that Christ offers. Hiding in His ability to overcome, and embracing the freedom of not having to rely on my own strength, keeps me from bearing the burden of self-preservation.
The Bible includes peace as a fruit of the Spirit. The peace of Christ is not an emotion human hearts can manufacture or create with circumstance. Instead, it demands a wild trust willing to risk. It boldly offers the vulnerability demanded by love as joy grows through gracewhich offers life. Peace has been left behind for us as a promise.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.~ Jesus (John 14:27)
May your satisfaction in Christ be so deep that bad news on the global, local, or personal scale doesn’t touch the promise of peace gifted to you. When challenges come and triggers tempt toward anxiety, may your heart not be troubled, for you know you belong to the Prince of Peace who has overcome the world.
Readers, When peace seems far, how do you remember that Jesus is near?