“It is not our circumstances, either good or bad, that determine whether we experience peace. We will come to experience real peace only when we fully abandon everything to Christ.”
Many of us genuinely desire to experience the peace Christ promised He would leave us.
Jesus spoke about peace, and about the time when He would no longer be with us in person.
Here is the promise He made to His Apostles, and to all of us.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.–John 14:27
This is quite a promise. It offers the consolation of peace and the elimination of fear.
St. Paul took the Lord’s promise of peace even further. Writing to the Philippians, he not only reminded them of the promise of peace, but he wrote they should not even experience anxiety.
Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.–Philippian 4:6-7
Do we desire this peace? Do we still know fear in our lives? Do we often experience anxiety?
We might ask – just how do we experience this peace? How do we eliminate fear and anxiety?
The answer will sound counter intuitive to the modern mind. This phrase, counter intuitive literally means something counter to what our intuition tells us or even our common sense.
The modern perspective on experiencing peace is to eliminate everything in our lives that disrupts our peace. If we only remove the obstacles to peace – modern logic goes, then peace will be ours. Common sense says – take control of your circumstances, bend them to your will.
How is that approach working for everyone?
No surprise – this is not the Biblical principle for experiencing peace, and for two reasons.
First, we can never hope to remove all the obstacles to peace in this life. And Second, it is neither obstacles nor even tribulation that steal our peace in this life. Christ told us this Himself.
I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.–John 16:33
The key to experiencing real peace in this life is, as Christ says, in Me. It is largely the same phrase we read in Philippians 6 above, “will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.“
But what does this mean? In Me, in Christ Jesus?
It means abandoning our entire lives, everything, good and bad, into the hands of Jesus Christ.
It seems counter intuitive, but we can only experience peace by abandoning, not by controlling.
It is not our circumstances, either good or bad, that determine whether we experience peace. We will come to experience real peace only when we fully abandon everything to Christ.
There is a very powerful prayer for this measure of Abandonment. It expresses the seriousness both Jesus and St. Paul intended when they explained what is necessary to experience peace.
This prayer, written by Saint Charles de Foucauld, is not for the faint of heart. As with many prayers, it is one thing to say it but quite another to pray it. It takes real courage to pray this.
To pray this prayer is itself an experience. We must be willing to let go of our learned approach to life, the one that is most familiar and comfortable to us. We must give it all over to Jesus.
We must have the courage to abandon each and every circumstance, relationship, future, present and past. We must allow Jesus Christ to have His way with us. This is the way to peace.
Please pray this prayer daily for a week. See what courage the Lord may be asking of You.
Article Copyright © Deacon Mark Danis
Image credit: “Jesus Christ” (detail) | Heinrich Hofmann, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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