Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. (2 Thess. 3:16)
Peace Comes Through Realistic Expectations
Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble” (Jn. 16:33). Expect difficulties in life. Don’t expect everything to go right. Don’t expect everyone to be fair and loving. Don’t expect everyone to like you or agree with you. Unrealistic expectations are one of the biggest blockages to experiencing peace.
We live in a world under the curse of sin. The people surrounding us, like us, have a sinful human nature. Why would you expect anything less than trouble in this world?
No one, regardless of status or how much good he/she has done, is entitled to health, wealth, popularity, and all the goodness of life. God does not owe us anything although He does promise to meet our needs as we seek after Him first (Matt. 6:33). What He provides for us is out of His grace, mercy, and goodness. If we got what we deserved, we would be doomed forever.
When we put these kinds of expectations on God or others, we are bound for disappointment in life. When life doesn’t turn out as we expect or people don’t do what we expect, stress builds, anger mounts, despair sets in. We lack peace.
Realities We Need to Grab Hold Of
In John 16 we read of Jesus forewarning the disciples of His pending death and then in verse 33 saying, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.” By expecting the trouble that was to come, they could be at peace, knowing that God was in control. Nothing escapes His knowledge or sovereign will.
We too must hear Jesus say, “In this world you will have trouble.” Expect it.
But, it doesn’t end there. Jesus also said, “But take heart!” How? Nobody wants or likes trouble.
There will come a day when sin’s curse will be no more (Rev. 22:3-5). That hope should bring peace. However, we have more than a future hope. Jesus said, “in me you may have peace” (Jn. 16:33).
You can have peace because trouble is not the only reality to expect in this life. You must grab hold of the reality that Jesus has “overcome the world.” After a long list of trials and tribulations, Romans 8:37 concludes, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Nothing can separate us from His love. As Paul said in Philippians 4:12-13, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
God is not promising to fix our circumstances or remove the consequences of bad choices. Rather, in whatever situation we find ourselves, good or bad, we can be at peace, making it through life with the strength He provides. When we have that peace, we can face anything. Without that peace, even the smallest hint of trouble can upset our day.
Reality #1: You will have difficulties in this life. (Jn. 16:33)
Reality #2: You are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:31-39)
Grab hold of those realities and you can know His peace.