By Allen Teal, Chaplain
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, NIV).
On September 11, 2001, 19 extremists boarded four passenger jets in the northeast area of the United States intent on creating terror for this nation and the world. No one old enough to understand the events of that day will ever forget where they were or what they were doing as three of the four jets reached their respective targets. We lost our sense of security and peace, and 2,977 men and women lost their lives. Life brings us unsettling and unnerving happenings. How we respond makes all the difference. In John 16:33, the Bible gives us three principles for personal peace.
1. God gives us peace.
The word peace appears 429 times in the Bible. Our peace is important to God. A person’s ability to have personal peace connects to our relationship with God. Christ said, “In me you may have peace.” Learning to rely on God to meet our needs and guard our lives brings calmness and peace even in difficult of times. “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3, NLT).
2. The world will always bring turmoil.
In our generation, the level of violence seems to be increasing. From 1949 to 1999, the number of mass shootings killing more than 10 people at one time was 10 with 148 deaths. From 2000 to 2015, there were eight of these incidents, with 134 deaths. From 2016 to July of 2019, eight more mass shootings resulted in 195 deaths. We will never find true and lasting personal peace by searching in the world, which gives a listing of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. While there’s no single definition of a mass shooting, recent studies have defined a mass shooting as an event where 4 or more people are killed by firearms in a single incident.)
3. Christ, who guides us, has overcome the troubles of the world.
Jesus lived in a dangerous world. Humans lived an average of about 40 years. While we see the 33-year life of Christ to be brief, he had experienced more than 80 percent of his anticipated lifespan. In John 16, Jesus knew he was hours away from death. At what should have been a low point in his life, he declares that the tribulations of the world have been defeated. Trusting in Christ gives us power to face our problems. Knowing that “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (John 4:4, NIV) will fill us with God’s peace.