Peace in the Lord

These things I have spoken unto you that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation but be of good cheer I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

If we are to have this peace in the Lord we must know what the things are that He has spoken, and that means we must often read these chapters, the 14th, 15th and 16th of John. We cherish the opening sentence of them “Let not your heart be troubled.” From the time they were spoken these words have been comforting and peace-giving words to multitudes. But how shall we be men and women of the untroubled heart when trouble is surging about us like the waves of the sea? Only by taking heed to the words He has spoken. “Ye believe in God, believe also in me” is the answer to every fear. All that God ever was to those who believed in Him in ages past, our Lord will be to us in days yet to cone. What a refuge and resource those saints of old found in their God. They never turned to Him in vain He never failed them in their vicissitudes and distresses. Even so will our Lord be to us. Can we trust Him?

There are many witnesses to the faithfulness of God in the Old Testament records, but none of these appeal to us more than David. We recall the darkest hours of his varied experience. First in his early manhood, before he came into his kingdom. His town of Ziklag had been burnt with fire while he was away at the war. His wives and the wives and children of his gallant men had been taken captive by a ruthless foe and were gone they knew not where. They had lost everything; they were beggared and bereaved, and wept until they could weep no more. Then their grief turned to rage and those men who had been so faithful to David rose against him and spoke of stoning him. He was greatly distressed. To whom could he turn? He turned to his God in that dark hour “David encouraged himself in the Lord.” He committed his way to God and God was with him. He recovered all and more than all, and the dark night of his distress changed to a radiant morning, that brought him the crown and the kingdom.

His direst tribulation came on him in his old age near the close of his career. His favourite son had rebelled against him. He was a fugitive from his palace-home, driven out of Jerusalem, his beloved city, by a fickle people. The wisest of his counsellors and his hitherto best friend had gone over to the rebel, and his enemies who were many mocked him, saying, “There is no help for him in God.” He had reached the very nadir of his fortunes and seemed to be a hopeless man as he “went up by the ascent of the Mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and went barefoot” (2 Sam. 15:30) the very opposite to the booted, fearless warrior of his former days. It was then that he turned afresh to God. “Lord,” he cried, “how are they increased that trouble me. Many are they, that rise up against me … But Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of my head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice and He heard me out of His holy hill.” And what was the result of that crying to God? He said, “I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me” (Ps. 3). He believed in God, and God heard His cry. God was for him; God loved him, watched over him and cared for him and in the knowledge of this he laid him down and slept. He had peace of heart, peace in God; and though his circumstances were not changed he was no more troubled for on awaking he said, “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people that have set themselves against me round about.” He had committed himself and his cause to God. He believed in God and was not forsaken. “Ye believe in God,” said the Lord, “believe also in Me.” Is not that a peace-giving word?

That is the beginning of our peace m the Lord but He spoke also of what lies beyond the tria1 of this life. “In My Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” This is “that blessed hope” that lie has set before us. We can face the eternal future with confidence, His precious blood and sure word have secured it for us, and our home is prepared for us by His presence in the Father’s house above the heavens. It is from thence that we look for Him, our Saviour, for He has said, “I will come again and receive you to Myself.” We reckon that the sufferings of this present time and all the tribulation through which we may yet pass is not worthy to be compared with the glories and joys that await us there, when He shall have fulfilled His word, “Where I am, there ye shall be also.” His words are peace-giving words; we believe them and rely upon them and look onward and upward with untroubled hearts.

 “Yes, we can call our home
  Our Father’s house above,
  The rest of God, our rest to come,
  Our home of liberty.”

These disciples of His were troubled because He was going from them. They felt that without Him they would be orphans in a hostile world. He met that fear by the promise of “Another Comforter”, a more than adequate provision for all their need. He said, “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter that He may abide with you for ever: even the Spirit of Truth.” As He had cared for them, so would this other Comforter care for them. As He had been among them as He that serves, so this other Comforter would be their Servant: He is the Paraklete, the one who comes alongside to help in every emergency. He would bring divine wisdom to their ignorance and divine power to their weakness, for He is the Holy Ghost. And He abides with us to this day, the same Comforter, unwearied in His service towards all who am loved and redeemed of the Lord, He shall “abide with you for ever.” These peace-giving words that the Lord uttered are spirit and life, and we cannot appropriate them and assimilate them except by the Holy Spirit, but He is with us to make them all effective in us. He takes of the things that are Christ and shows them to us. Of Him the Lord said, “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My Name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” As we walk in the Spirit we may expect that He will lead us ever more deeply into the meaning of the words of the Lord, and as He is ungrieved within us these words will be our food and joy. And in this connection the Lord speaks again of His own peace being our portion, and of the untroubled heart. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world gives give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

His words reveal the tender love of His heart towards “His own.” As we read them the words of the 13th chapter come with power to our memories “having loved His own which were in the world He loved them unto the end.” And in the course of these final communications to us He tells us of the measure of that love. “As My Father has loved Me so have I loved you: continue ye in My love,” and He tells us not only of His love but of the Father’s love also, “The Father Himself loves you, because ye have loved Me.” We cannot surely read these words without wonder and gratitude, and as we meditate upon then we find them “sweet to our taste yea, sweeter than honey to our mouths,” they are “better to us than thousands of gold and silver,” they are treasures beyond all price, to be kept and cherished, and He says, “If a man love Me he will keep My words: and My Father will love him and we will come unto him and make our abode with him.” And what trouble could disturb the man who has the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost abiding in and with Him? Surely heaven’s own peace, the peace of God, would be his portion.

“In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” “These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace.”

J. T. Mawson