When Jesus tells us not to have troubled hearts, he is asking us to live our entire life with faith in a God who has conquered the ultimate enemy – death. Peace is a result of the hope we have in Jesus Christ. Jesus suffered, died and rose again. For his followers, peace and suffering can thus exist side by side.
Yes, not even suffering can take our peace away. This is a hard message to accept, because many of us don’t deal with suffering very well. We quickly panic or rebel against it. We spend so much energy fighting it that we never make peace with it. It’s the person who knows how to live with his or her suffering who can claim an untroubled heart. Suffering is uncomfortable and unavoidable, but if we face it directly, it can even be beneficial.
We often hear stories of people who contracted a serious disease like cancer and their whole changed for the better. They realized they had limited time to live and they re-evaluated their lives and put first things first. Their priorities changed. God, love and family and other relationships became the most important things in their lives.
On the other hand, suffering becomes destructive when it drives us into ourselves, isolating us from God and those we love. However, suffering can be positive if faith and love create the power to overcome it. The heroes and heroines of history are not those who took easy way or had it made, but those who struggled and overcame hopeless odds.
Jesus said, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” When we allow Jesus and his Father to come into our hearts, how could our hearts be anything but peaceful? Most of the world sees peace as release from tension, the avoidance of struggles, an escape from pain. Peace is not the absence of something. Rather it is the presence of Someone – Jesus himself.
Nothing external can give us the peace we seek. It is only when we fully welcome our Lord into our lives that we will finally know what peace really means.