"Peace be with you! My Peace I give you!"
Have you ever wondered what exactly is the peace the Lord Jesus wants to give when he says “My peace I give you.” Well, we can be certain it is not the peace that frees us from anxiety or worries. Jesus’ peace is deeper and more profound. It flows from knowing that we are doing the right thing in any given place or moment and persevering until the crisis passes. In life we often find ourselves facing tough decisions and challenges we would rather avoid. We want no part of trouble and prefer instead to sit in the shade sipping a cool glass of lemonade. That’s the peace the world urges us to choose and it is as far away from unwanted troubles as we can possibly get.
While the peace that Jesus holds out to us comes when trouble arrives. Even though our life seems turned upside down at the time of trouble, we stay put because loved ones are involved or may even be in danger. It's then that we ask for the Lord’s help, dig in and do what we can to resolve the emergency. Indeed, when we choose the right thing to do for the love of another, peace flows into our lives, and Jesus gives it in abundance.
As a young girl, my mother left the familiar setting of her Italian hometown to come to America, and as an immigrant, she faced a life without her familiar surroundings. She left her cousins, her companions, and especially her best friend, whom she did not see again until forty-nine years later.
It most likely was tempting for her to hide out in her memories, where she felt safe and comfortable, but she didn’t. Instead she faced her new future, its challenges, her losses and her longings for the sake of her famly. My mother chose what one author called “the road of the kingdom” rather than the temporary road of personal pleasure and gratification. She never regretted her choice. It was the right thing to do, and she embraced it.
Everyday we face these same choices. We can choose a worldly peace which arises from fleeting pleasure and makes us feel good, or we can select the uphill path. While this path is more difficult, we believe that it leads us to the kingdom. In my mother’s case, it was her new life in America. When it is the right thing to do, God "pours out" the grace, which makes it work.
Just ask anyone who has trod this kingdom road of tough choices--Jesus, Mary, Joseph, my mother, perhaps your relatives. For in the end we did the right thing, made the right choice, and Jesus whispered along our way “My peace I gave you! and together we made it, didn’t we?”