Read John 14:23-29.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. (John 14:27)

Are you at peace? Are you calm in all situations, untouched by anger or slander, unfazed by loss, content in pain, able to float over the waves of the troubles of the world?

What is this peace that Jesus leaves with us? What is the nature of this other-worldly peace? Not an absence of affliction or pain or loss—that would be peace as the world understands it. Not an absence of response to the afflictions of the world—that would be stoicism. Jesus wept.

This peace is apparently one we can lose through our own fault—through letting our hearts be troubled. Through fear. Apparently a deep faith is a prerequisite.

There are three kinds of peace, or levels of peace, that God gives. Each is so far above what precedes it that it is like a whole new world. We experience them at times, in part, but hopefully with growing frequency.

The first is the peace of faith. When we have a deep faith in God, the whole world looks new. There is no fear of pain or disease or loss or shame—all is in God’s loving and powerful hands. All is part of God’s plan. Affliction is a loving message from God that he is caring for us, purifying us, saving us. Pain is joy. Sickness is life. The world is a sparkling manifestation of God’s salvation and love. Love is the stuff from which the world was created.

This peace may be called union with God in faith.

The second is peace in the desires. This is the stillness that the psalmist speaks of when he says “be still and know that I am God.” This is the rest that John of the Cross speaks of when he refers to “my house at rest.” This is the quieting of desires outside of God. In this peace, the desires that cause strife or envy or anger or covetousness are gone. Without conflicting desires, our houses are at rest. And yet this peace is perhaps deceptively named, for we do love God and love good and hate evil. We have a strong desire for the salvation of the world. We love God’s will above all.

This peace may be called union with God in will.

I have heard tell of a third peace, the peace of God himself. God himself is always the same, always loving, always joyful. God is stability and love and joy. God is beyond stability and love and joy. God is peace. God is. God. Someday, some way, we will be like him for we will see him as he is.

This peace may be called union with God in spirit.

Perhaps these three kinds of peace may also be called the peace of the servant of God, of the friend of God, and of the child of God.

Categories: Meditation

Harry Plantinga

Harry Plantinga is a professor of computer science at Calvin College and the director of ccel.org and hymnary.org.