“I’ve told you all these things for a reason. Don’t miss my purpose here. I’ve been preparing you by My words and my example. But you need one thing more. Just like the rich young ruler, there is one thing you lack. It’s this “in Me” part. You don’t quite get it yet because You don’t totally have me yet. You don’t already understand how I have overcome the world already but you will get it soon. After I show you in a way that you can understand, after the cross, after I rise, You will understand that I have overcome. That day when I come to dwell inside of you through My Holy Spirit, then You will know more than facts to understand. Then You will know Me and all that THAT means. That’s what all this has been about.”
Lord, that’s what I hear You saying. And the more I read, the more I believe it. But the more I read, the more I believe You. The more I read, the more I believe, the more I believe, the more I see, the more I see and believe, the more You are changing me and the more You teach me and the more I know You.
There is so much treasure in this one verse, Lord. So much of Your desire for us. So much of Your preparation for us. So much of Your encouragement of us. But so much of You. It’s all about You. It starts with You, in You, and it ends with You. And it’s all about my knowing You.
You have told me everything I need to know to come to have peace. It’s not about knowing how to have peace either. It’s about knowing You. It’s about experiencing the Prince of Peace. It’s not about gaining a characteristic, it’s about gaining You and it flowing forth as a newly formed part of my character. But what is peace to start with?
HELPS Word Studies puts it together in a lovely way. “Peace” is from the Greek word “eirene” “(from eiro, ‘to join, tie together into a whole’)- properly, wholeness, i.e. when all essential parts are joined together; peace (God’s gift of wholeness.)” And where does that gift of wholeness come from? When are all my essential parts joined together? Only in You.
Strong’s Concordance equates it with quietness and rest. Skip Moen makes a statement, that when Jesus mentioned “peace” “He didn’t say ‘eirene’ (as the Greek text records). He said ‘Shalom,’ the Hebrew equivalent of continuous well-being with God and men.” For our records it was written in Greek, but there would have been thinking in Hebrew going on by Jewish men. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Understanding the meaning behind words, one has to look at the culture and its nuances. I want to know the mind of the original speaker here, so I don’t want to know what the Greek thought about it; I want to know what You think about it.
The Greeks saw peace as a “state of play.” We’re either in a temporary state of peace or of war. But Hebrew thinking was different. Your mindset was different. In Hebrew thinking, “the condition of men is a matter of relationship , not status…[M]en exist when they are in right relationship with their Creator, in shalom. When they are not in right relationship, it isn’t war that they experience. It is non-existence..The door is opened for shalom, not as a title we carry or a possession we hold, but as a conversation with the Father of lights. Shalom is talking life over with God.”( Skip Moen) Is my life a conversation with You? Do other people see that conversation going on? Are they drawn to join that conversation?
Peace is more than the “absence of war” like classical Greek implies. And when we have an absence of war we start looking forward to “health, well-being, and prosperity.” But peace is more than those. It is more than a state of being or a state of internal or external affairs. And it’s not about a respite. The Hebrew influence flipped it from a word about conditions, to a word about relationship. “[T]he context of shalom is not primarily in the material world of possessions or assets. Shalom begins with right relationships because right relationships determine all the other factors in life… Yeshua is not telling his disciples that He is leaving them in a state of blessed euphoria. He is not granting them a condition of happiness, prosperity and personal well being. He says that He is leaving them His peace. What is His peace?… Yeshua is preparing His followers for events that will appear to be the end of everything… He is leaving them a special relationship made possible only because He is finishing His mission… It is the settled confidence that my relationship with God has been repaired. It is the declaration that God has opened the door for me…Peace begins with the gift of God’s presence… ” (Skip Moen)
“Shalom [peace] is what we want and what we need… It’s the hope of universal Sabbath, the rest that the world longs to embrace as the fulfillment of the creative order…The Hebrew consciousness is informed with a certain relaxed sense of purpose. Why? Because it all doesn’t depend on me! God’s hand moves invisibly through the lives of men, and as long as it does, I am finally not fully responsible for the outcomes of my efforts. I can trust in a universe that conspires with me to bring about His good purposes. I can rest in knowing His plans cannot be thwarted. Tired? Yes, of course I’m tired. I work hard. But ‘so tired?'” (Skip Moen) No, because You are my Peace, my Rest, my Stillness, my Assurance, my Hope, my Strength, my Sabbath, and You are what I enjoy and revel in.
So this was all the part where You have been re-speaking these things to me so that in You I might have peace. And in all honesty, that’s just it. I wish I knew Greek for myself because I keep reading this verse. And I keep reading “that in Me you might have peace.” And that “might” bothers me. Because in the original word “echo” it is the present tense word for “have.” And I’m searching all over the internet and for every Greek help I can find to see where that might is coming from. I don’t get it. Some translations are saying so I will have, so I might have, so I may have. Well, do I or don’t I? Why is Greek in present tense? Does it really just mean, “In Me you have peace”? I don’t need to know that I maybe could or maybe couldn’t have this peace. If my existence depends on it, on You, then I need to know that I HAVE this peace, that I HAVE YOU.
Now, getting back to the honest truth of me. Always, in You, I have peace. In You, there is never a millisecond of non-peace. Well, if that’s true, why have I been struggling so much? Why am I often not feeling that peace? Is it because it is evading me? Is it because Your peace has stopped or been removed? Why am I worried? Why am I frustrated? Why don’t I have peace? You promised it. Where is it then?
Well, honesty hurts big time. It’s all right there. In You I have peace. Always. Out of You I don’t have peace. Even though I am Yours I can live as though I am not. Even though I am Yours I can think as though I am not. Even though I am Yours I can believe as though I am not. And right now, I have to admit that I am like one of those blades of grass that is bending with every hard wind and even the light winds too. Things have been appearing to fall apart around me, I mean it’s like everything is crashing down. It’s like the spiritual fabric of everything I hold dear is being ripped apart and I can’t stop it. And it’s lasting longer than I like and I’ve gotten short-tempered and frustrated because it all seems to be in the face of Your plan and Your desires.
But what if it isn’t in the long run? What if You are just training me up and preparing me for even tougher stuff. And what if that’s not even the point. What if the whole point is whether I will totally surrender to trust You no matter how You do it or what You decide to do? What if i just stopped and appreciated that in the midst of everything, You are in control and I’m not? What if I just stopped and appreciated that in the midst of everything, this is part of Your plans for my good and theirs? What if I just stopped and let You squeeze out the rotten stuff, squeeze it right out of my life and my family’s, and stopped complaining about it, and rejoiced in it instead? What if I actually practiced what I preached?
Lord, this is what You lived out. You came, the Prince of Peace, and lived a life far from peaceful. You understand everything that I’m going through and more. But it’s not just that You understand. Your life and circumstances didn’t happen by mistake. They didn’t happen because men made plans and decisions and You were affected or held back by them. Everything that happened in Your life was orchestrated by God. And that’s what I need to realize in my life. People aren’t just doing things at random. You have a reason for everything. YOU ARE IN CONTROL. And I must let You be in control. I must learn to love You being in control no matter what because then I will truly be loving You. Then I will have the peace that is You, not just of You. This is trust. This is faith. This is the relationship with me that You desire. And I want to desire it to.
Forgive me, Lord, for “kicking against the goads.” I mean, this all really hurts and I don’t like it. But if I can’t surrender to You now, in this, when the tougher stuff comes, what then? So, remind me every moment that You are in charge. Remind me every moment that this is all for my peace in You. Remind me every millisecond that You are in every situation and teach me to let You have Your way. Dying to self is such a hard lesson to learn, Lord, and a painful one. But thank You, Lord, that “the things which are impossible with men are possible with God!” (Luke 18:27)