As I write today, carpenters cut, pull, hammer, etc. in the next room. They also listen to the radio, sing, and have interesting conversations. (Confession: For writers, eavesdropping is a requisite.) It’s loud and dirty work, this renovation of our living space. I have hope (confident expectation) that, when they and the other tradesmen finish, everything will be better than it was before (after I dust at least ten times!), but this interim is…challenging, to put it nicely. Not surprisingly, I find it difficult to concentrate.
This morning while it was still quiet, I sat at my dusty dining room table, wiped yesterday’s dust off my Bible, and opened it to the end of John 16.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. –John 16:33
Jesus said something similar at the beginning of this same, long soliloquy, all of which precedes that crucial scene in the Garden of Gethsemane (John 18:1-14).
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. –John 14:27
I wonder if He wasn’t saying these things as much for Himself as for the disciples. Because peace has power, and His life was about to be disrupted like no other before or since.
Paul wrote about peace in every book of the Bible attributed to him. Peter instructs us to “seek peace and pursue it” (1 Peter 3:11). I’m meditating on these powerful words about peace today through the noise, distractions, and dust. The images help.
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. –Ephesians 2:14-17 (emphasis added)
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. –Philippians 4:7-9 (emphasis added)
Notice how the command to focus our minds on the good things is bracketed by this peace of God/God of peace phrase.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. –Colossians 3:15
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. –2 Thessalonians 3:16
The Lord gives us peace and, through Christ, it rules. (Paul begins and/or ends many of his letters with greetings of peace. If you want more, do a search at BibleGateway to scan through them.)
Maybe you are distracted as well, even if you aren’t remodeling your living room. Maybe the noise, dust, and clutter of your life makes it difficult to focus on the things of God. Start here—with peace—and see if everything else will fall in place behind it, just like this blog post did.
What verse helps you center on Jesus when life is crazy? Which of these images best represents peace to you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Related: Last year as we were moving into this house we’re now renovating, I also wrote about the power of peace.