I have often wondered what Christ meant when he said “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).
What is the peace that Christ gives that is not the peace the world gives?
In Jeannine Goffar’s wonderful “C.S. Lewis Index”, she cites six Lewis references to peace. The last one is from “A Grief Observed”:
“When I lay these questions before God [about Lewis’s suffering because of Joy’s death] I get no answer; it is though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question: ‘Peace, child, you don’t understand’ “.
Is this the peace that Christ speaks of – the firm belief in God’s love, even if we don’t understand the reason for our suffering, or even if we do? I think this was the peace that Lewis had a few months before his own death when he wrote to Mary Shelburne: ”Pain is terrible, but surely you need not have fear as well? Can you not see death as the friend and deliverer? It means stripping off that body which is tormenting you: like taking off a hair-shirt or getting out of a dungeon. What is there to be afraid of? You have long attempted (and none of us does more) a Christian life. Your sins are confessed and absolved…Don’t you think Our Lord says to you ‘Peace, child, peace. Relax. Let go. Underneath are the everlasting arms. Let go, I will catch you. Do you trust me so little?’ "
When one is hurting, it is not easy to acquire this peace, at least not for me. May the Lord help me (although, at the moment, I’m not hurting).
In connection with the peace described, I have found in the lst couple of years a combination of scriptural truths that help toward experiencing that peace. God has promised to provide all of our needs. This includes the trials we need for spiritual growth. We may not like them or find them comfortable, but we need them. He has also commanded us to give thanks in everything. We are to thank Him for each of His provisions for us whether we like them or not. That means we are to thank Him for the trials as well as the blessings. When we remember that command and perform it the peace He gives begins to permeate our being and we experience some of the depth of His love.
It also helps me to think of Jesus’s words at the end of Matthew’s gospel: “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
This reminds me of that passage in Magician’s Nephew: that abundance of golden goodness and gladness that Digory and Polly experienced as Aslan sent them back to their own world. It is peace, not just in the negative sense, but also in the supremely positive sense of overwhelming shalom, total wholeness and wellbeing which is found only in Christ. We are moving towards that in Christ.
Thank you, Dimitry, your post was just what I needed right now.
Undragoned by Aslan,
Quoting that passage:
“Both the children were looking up into the Lion’s face as he spoke these words. And all at once (they never knew exactly how it happened) the face seemed to be a sea of tossing gold in which they were floating, and such a sweetness and power rolled about them and over them and entered into them that they felt they had never really been happy or wise or good, or even alive and awake, before. And the memory of that moment stayed with them always, so that as long as they both lived, if ever they were sad or afraid or angry, the thought of all that golden goodness, and the feeling that it was still there, quite close, just round some corner or just behind some door, would come back and make them sure, deep down inside, that all was well.”