“These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye may have peace. In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Peace is a state of being that is greatly sought after. Few are the people who want to live in a constant state of war or trouble. But where are we to find peace? It seems so elusive in life.
As Jesus indicates, we have tribulation in the world. In context, Jesus speaks of the trials and difficulties believers will encounter because of their stand for the Gospel (cf. 1 Peter 2:19-24). If we believe in Christ and therefore get resistance from the world, we can take comfort in Jesus’ victory over the world through His death and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15). Even if it leads to the loss of our livelihoods or lives, we will obtain a great inheritance (Luke 18:29-30, Romans 8:17-18).
While believers may be called upon to suffer tribulation in the world on account of the Gospel, it is certainly not the only reason for trial. Tribulation exists in the world on account of all sorts of reasons: wars, illnesses, economic challenges, consequences of the sins of others or perhaps even our own sins, and so on. Even if we obtain a level of stability in our lives, there is no guarantee that we can maintain that level of stability.
In reality, tribulation exists everywhere in the world, and true peace cannot be found in it. If we truly want peace, we must look to God in Christ.
We can have peace in Jesus Christ because He became our peace (cf. Ephesians 2:11-18). Peace can only exist when hostility is taken out of the way, and Jesus removed the source of hostility by bearing the law of sin and death on the cross (Ephesians 2:11-18, Romans 8:1-3). Through Jesus Christ we can have peace with God, peace with ourselves, and peace with our fellow man. Indeed, we can obtain the peace that surpasses all understanding in Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:7)!
This peace does not mean that we will not suffer trial; instead, this peace can sustain us through any difficulty we may experience. It is an inner peace that ought to flow outward in every aspect of our lives.
This peace comes at a great price: we must give up all of ourselves and serve Jesus (cf. Galatians 2:20). We must weigh the cost and see if it is worth it. When we finally get tired of the tribulation of the world, let us seek out and enjoy the peace that can only come through our Lord Jesus Christ!
Ethan R. Longhenry