by Niki Turner
Most everyone has had something left to them by a friend or family member who passed on or moved away; a set of china, a family scrapbook, a piece of furniture or jewelry, maybe a family Bible or an album of treasured photographs. Often, those objects are relegated to a shelf, or some other "special" location where they cease to be useful and start to gather dust.
When my husband's grandmother passed away, she left all her household goods for her children and grandchildren to sort through. Her kitchen tools were, shall we say, well-used. (It took several days to clean the accumulated goop off the blender buttons.) But then her antiquated Oster blender went right into use in my kitchen, and worked fabulously for another 15 years. What she left behind was meant to be used, not enshrined.
Jesus left us some things He meant for us to use, too. One of the things He left for us is something I frequently forget I have possession of: His peace.
"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
His peace isn't some kind of fragile, useless tchotchke. It isn't merely a replica of the real thing, and it will never be obsolete, blow a fuse, or burn up under strenuous activity. He left us something real, alive, tangible, and powerful. But a lot of us (myself included) tend to set it neatly aside with our pretty religious verses and ignore it. I don't think that's what He intended.
I'm told my great-grandmother, who was all of five feet tall and 100 pounds, kept a shotgun over the front door even when she lived in San Diego with my grandmother during WWII. If a salesman, or some other caller she didn't approve of, was reluctant to leave, she would reach up and snatch that shotgun down, shove both barrels through the door, and tell the unwelcome individual to "git."
|photo by Will Humes||via PhotoRee|
Jesus clearly said He left us HIS peace. What kind of peace did He have? The word is defined as "a state of rest, quietness, and calmness; an absence of strife; tranquility." His peace calmed violent storms (Mark 4:29), "passes all understanding" (Phil 4:7), and is described by Paul as the deadly footwear of the Roman soldier in full armor (Eph 6:15). It's not the world's kind of easily disrupted faux peace that's dependent on transitory things like feelings and circumstances. The peace Jesus has given to us is powerful enough to keep our hearts (souls and bodies) in "check" when trouble and fear come to call.
Have you ever had a friend or family member give you a gift, and then ask you later if you've been using it, only to find yourself in the uncomfortable position of choosing between telling a lie and sparing his or her feelings? I really don't want to find myself standing before Jesus making excuses for ignoring the peace He left to me.
What situation is causing turmoil, trouble, fear, or anxiety in your life today? It could be as small as an ingrown toenail, or as tremendous as an oncoming hurricane. The size of the obstacle is not at issue. The question is this: Will you use the peace He left with you, or will you leave that shotgun hanging over the door and start fretting about the intruder? Speak peace into the situation. When Jesus stood up in the boat in the midst of the storm that paralyzed a boat full of lifelong fishermen he simply said, "Peace, be still." When he entered the upper room after the Resurrection, where the disciples had locked themselves in, presumably in fear of the Pharisees, His first words were "Peace to you!"
Peace is mine. And yours. You have it now.