Tuesday, December 15
I give you my own peace and my gift is nothing like the peace of this world. You must not be distressed and you must not be daunted. John 14:27 (J.B. Phillips New Testament)
This Phillips paraphrase unexpectedly caught my attention. It’s no secret that stress, anxiety, and depression are common challenges during these Covid crisis days. Zoom keeps us in touch, but we long for hugs and mask-less greetings. Creative home cooking is on the increase, but we miss café conversations. Online classes stimulate the brain, but we long for the classroom. One woman is creating a Covid scrapbook to include humorous quotes, positive notes from friends and newspaper articles cataloging the pandemic, but she admits the scrapbook may never be reviewed.
But these are only temporary Band-Aids unless something deep within is altered. What did Jesus do when hungry for bread—hungering for both physical and mental food? When tempted to take matters in his own hands? When isolated from family and close friends? Imagine him living today. Can you see him weeping with the brokenhearted, grieving with those who mourn, standing close to the lonely, and in the midst of it all, possessing and expressing perfect peace? Able to lovingly touch a leper, draw children into his arms, wash a betrayer’s feet, accept a prostitute’s kiss?
Don’t be ashamed to express heaviness of heart, but also actively reach for Jesus’ own peace, that which protects us from giving up, enables us to help others, and disarms the enemy who works only to discourage and defeat God’s children.
The “remedy” is both simple and cataclysmic: Don’t worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, and the peace of God which transcends human understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)