The words of Jesus:
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.
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
Jesus says, “Peace I give to you” and “your joy will be full.” But, His peace and joy are much different than the world view of peace and joy. That doesn’t mean everything will run smoothly in your life; it means that no matter what life throws at you, you will have peace and joy in your heart. That God will lead you through it. That Christ is by your side. That the Spirit within you will give you strength. That you will have confidence and faith, knowing that you will be in heaven with almighty God.1 Peter 1:6-9
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith — the salvation of your souls.
There have been so many times when I have gone through “hard times,” I wondered why this terrible thing is happening to me. Why does God allow it? Then later I realize how much I learned from it and that it made me a better person because of it (though I still have a long way to go). I believe that often times our struggles may be to bless others and help them get through their struggles. I have also learned to appreciate my blessings and that it often comes in many forms. We often look at what is a blessing through selfish eyes. What do I get out of it. Sometimes a blessing is simply to be able to experience God working through us for the benefit of others. My perspective really changed on my first short term mission trip to Haiti. I saw how people live down there, and the struggles they have make our struggles seem so petty (well, they are petty in comparison).
Many are happy to have a meal each day or a “roof” over their head, which may be a tarp (that may or may not leak when it rains), or clean water to drink or wash with, or basic hygiene and sanitation, or to have the most basic medical needs taken care of (many hospitals of little more than saline to keep people from dehydrating, often the smallest cuts get infected because they don’t have antibiotics or bandaids) or to have someone that shows that they care (not to mention dealing with a major earthquake, hurricanes, a corrupt government, concerns of safety and security, voodoo and the like)…
…And we complain when the internet is out for a day or we don’t have enough bars on our cell phone or we are not happy with how the elections turned out. We are so spoiled living rich (even the poorest here are wealthy in the world’s standards) in a country where we have freedoms unimaginable in many countries and we can feel relatively safe when we go home at night. Yet, I think in some ways many of the people I saw in Haiti have more peace and joy than many of us in America. But, God has a plan for us. He has a promise for us and He always keeps His promises. And He has promised us Peace and Joy. Trust in Him. Put your faith in Him.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
When Christ is in us, we have peace, because He is our peace.
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
When Christ came to this earth, He took our sins and hung them on the cross, breaking the barriers between sinners and God…for we are all sinners, but Jesus paid for our sins. No longer are we bound by the law, but we are freed from sin by grace, whether Jew or Gentile. Therefore, we can have peace if we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who came, Who died, who was raised from the dead, Who lives forever at the right hand of God the Father, interceding for us. Is there no greater joy than that?
You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.