I love the way Jesus brings us into deeper relationship with Himself. When He first saw His disciples after the resurrection, His first word to them was peace. From the beginning of our personal relationship with Jesus, those same words are spoken over us. The words of peace are not heard by our ears; rather they are spoken directly into our souls. The peace Jesus speaks of is understood in the depth of our souls. When we begin our personal relationship with Jesus, we experience the first breath of fresh air that our depleted souls long for. We begin to have peace with the God who made us in His image to love and serve Him. Through believing in Jesus Christ, we have peace with God.
The foundation of our relationship with God is peace. We need that. We long for spiritual peace. We will never get peace from the world. In the world we will have trouble. Our troubles often actually increase after we get peace with God. There are some around the world who risk their very lives when they believe in Jesus. Family members turn into enemies who want to take their lives because they profess faith in Jesus. Turmoil increases, but peace in the soul grows stronger.
In the first century, Christians demonstrated peace in the midst of greater trials. Stories of peace in the midst of being fed to the lions or lit on fire because they believed in Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection abound about these early martyrs.
Our souls long for peace inside and out. We don’t see the spiritual value of having peace with God while experiencing greater trials in the world. But that is definitely how God grows true peace within us. He allows trials in our lives to work out our glory and His. Romans 8:28 guarantees that:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
God wants more for us than just a peaceful, easy life. He wants us to know great faith. When Jesus sent the disciples ahead of Him in a boat, a great storm started brewing. It was all working together for their good. As Jesus walked on the water across the troubled lake near the equally troubled disciples, He demonstrated the peace we can all experience. Jesus didn’t even have a boat to keep Him safe, yet He calmly stepped one foot in front of another, defying gravity, across the same stormy sea that stressed His disciples. Jesus relied totally on the peace that came from knowing God was in control even when storms well up. That is what Jesus wants for us. He can’t teach us that lesson without sending us out into the storm.
Greater peace is developed through greater trials. You will be surprised when you recognize it in yourself. You are so programmed to have greater anxiety in greater trials. When you are filled with God’s Spirit, the opposite happens. Greater trials will produce greater peace, which leads to greater faith. Greater faith is an even greater gift.