Peace in a Heart of Faith

John 16: 29-33
Acts 19:1-8 / Psa 68

I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble; but take courage, I have conquered the world.
(John 16:33)

God's kindness is beyond all measure
No cause to worry or to fear
Whether in times of pain or pleasure
With faith in Christ, His peace is here.

His disciples said, “Now you are talking plainly, not in any figure of speech! Now we know that you know all things, and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. By this we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you believe at last? But the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, every man to his home, and will leave me alone; yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have told you this so that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble; but take courage, I have conquered the world.” (John 16: 29-33)

Reflection

The apostles naively thought that they had finally understood the message that Jesus was telling them, about ‘leaving the world and going back to the Father,’ because finally they had believed that He came from God. But our Lord knew that in just a matter of a few hours they would again lose faith and abandon Him, once the temple guards came to arrest Him. He knew that their frail faith was based on their limited understanding, and merely on the miracles and wonders that Jesus had performed in their midst. They had not yet known who Jesus really was in the context of His mission on earth. This enlightenment would only come after His resurrection and ascension, and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.

Still, Jesus assured them, that with Him they would have peace, just as He was at peace because the Father was with Him. They would be going through a lot of persecution in the coming days, but they had no reason to fear, as by His death and resurrection Jesus would be victorious against evil, and they too would prevail over their trials and persecutions once the Holy Spirit had descended upon them.

Early in our life with the renewal, we were filled with the joy and peace of the Holy Spirit, and it seemed as if we were prepared to take on whatever tasks the Brotherhood assigned to us. We gave so much of our time, effort and resources to our assigned tasks that we became confident God would take care of our business because we were taking care of His. When the real estate debacle happened, and we started encountering financial difficulties, we wondered why God was allowing this crisis to happen to us, as we regarded it a major obstacle in the performance of our ministry. It was only after we had weathered that storm that we came to realize how immature our knowledge was about God: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord,” (Isa 55:8). We cannot presume on God’s favors in return for our services. We can only trust in His divine wisdom for our ultimate benefit. We have come to accept that our faith is still a work in progress, and that true peace lies in a heart full of faith in Jesus Christ. We also came to realize that life’s trials and tribulations play as much an important part as our blessings and victories in the development of our faith.

Father God, fortify our faith in times of trials and difficulties. Do not let us be discouraged when we fail to receive what we are praying for. Grant us Your gift of joy in our service so that our enthusiasm may never flag when the work seems monotonous or tedious. Thank You, Lord, for the inspiring words of Jesus Christ that sustain us in the Gospel. Amen.

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