“Life wouldn’t be so hard if we didn’t expect it to be so easy.”
This expression is in the long list of quotes for which I do not know the source. I remember it because it’s true! Struggle is a part of life. No matter what we do, trouble will find us sooner or later. We don’t like it, but we’re not required to like something for it to be true.
But what we do with struggles is where our faith becomes “real.”
Jesus is at the Last Supper (His final meal before His crucifixion) in our study through John’s Gospel. He has told them so much. And so much of what He told them they wouldn’t understand until sometime later—certainly not this night. Yet, Jesus told them to be obedient to His commands, and the gift of the Holy Spirit would help them.
Our Lord continues in John 14:27-31:
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. You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. Come now; let us leave.John 14:27-31
New International Version
Jesus knew the struggles in front of the disciples. In the coming hours, they would be scattered as they dispersed in fear. Betrayals were set in motion, Peter would crumble under the pressure, and Jesus would be left alone to face His accusers.
In the face of His own death and separation from the Father when He became sin for us, Jesus leaves them with peace. What amazing love! When they should have been comforting Him, Jesus was giving them peace the world could not give.
Jesus even said (in 30-31) that the “prince of this world” is coming for Him [in the crucifixion], but even Satan himself has NO POWER over Jesus.
The peace Jesus offers us was gained by Him because He went through the death that was ours to pay. He paid the debt for our sin and defeated it. Jesus doesn’t offer peace from our struggles by always calming the storm. Notice that Jesus didn’t say at this point that the “Prince of this World” would have no effect on Him. Instead, Satan would strike at Jesus through the cross.
With this teaching section in the upper room completed, Jesus signals its end with “Come now, let us leave.” A curious statement since He has three more chapters’ worth of teaching before they leave for Gethsemane. His proposal to leave the upper must have been met with some resistance as we know from a cursory glance, they stayed, and Jesus taught and comforted them even more.
In similar ways, sometimes we are with the Lord, and we want to linger a little longer. Maybe you’re in a season of pain, and you need Him to linger with you. Maybe He won’t take away the pain. Maybe Satan will strike your heel too, and you will serve Jesus with a limp. Still, you serve the One Who crushed the enemy’s head.
He states, “do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27b). The peace the Lord offers us is the same as then: there’s no reason to be afraid of the struggles facing you. You know the One who has conquered death—why are you afraid? You belong to the Creator of the Universe who is your Advocate and Defender—what do you fear?
The peace the Lord gives us is not the absence of conflict; it’s the presence of our Lord. Maybe you’re struggling right now. Maybe you’re about to!
Regardless, decide now that you will turn to the Lord in worship and praise for the peace He gives while we struggle.