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The roadmap to peace

October 15, 2010 No Comment

by Peggy Pedersen

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12).

One thing we can always count on from our Lord Jesus Christ is truth. He has never lied to us. He told us to expect tribulation, opposition, ridicule and even rejection by our friends and family, even possibly imprisonment and death. He warned us to count the cost of following Him. There is no peace without the cross.

Now, you say, how can that be a message of grace? Well, it is great comfort to know that what is happening to us is not an aberration. There has been no bait-and-switch. Jesus promised His followers a cross, but He promised us He will help us to carry it, and gives us brothers- and sisters-in-Christ to support and encourage us and shepherds to feed and guide us. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Sometimes the tribulation is from without. When He brought me back to Him and my family thought I had bought into a fairy-tale and given up my critical intelligence, I was comforted by the knowledge that Jesus had told us that allying ourselves with Him meant bearing the enmity the world had for Him. Yet, He promised that when the world is against us, He would not leave us or forsake us and that nothing in heaven or earth could separate us from Him.

Sometimes the tribulation is from within—facing our sinfulness with truthfulness, no excuses, no self-justification or illusions of our ability to improve ourselves. As we confront the daily struggle with the Old Adam, Jesus reassures us that, before the throne of God, He intercedes for us, and as we come to Him confessing our sins, we receive His absolute forgiveness and abide in His love.

Sometimes there will be sickness and sorrow, but we know He has promised we will never be given more than we can bear. We have a Saviour who, incarnate as man, has faced what we face and understands, and as God, He gives us His peace which is not like the world’s peace which relies on the absence of conflict. It is a “peace beyond understanding” — calm and joy in the midst of whatever struggles we are going through. That peace reigns in our hearts and minds because He has come to dwell within us and made us His own. It is the greatest peace because in Him, through His death and resurrection, He has brought us peace with God.

In this world, we will have difficulties, but “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

Peggy Pedersen is a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Victoria, B.C.

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