Can you relate to the prophet Jeremiah who said “My soul has been deprived of peace: I have forgotten what happiness is.” (Lam.3:17-18).
Some folks have told me their formula for “peace” is a cup of hot coffee, a snack, and maybe some mellow music. Well, I enjoy that too. Sometimes people say peace is going on a vacation or (not) being with their family. Some say just plopping on a bed. Right on! Gotcha. Others talk about some meditation process or alone in silence. Yup. Got it. But all this is common peace of this world and can not resolve the complex unexplainable hostilities we feel inside us.
THE CURSE OF TIME AND SPACE
God asked Adam, after the tragedy of his sin: “WHERE are you?” (Gen.3:9). Instantly, Adam was aware that he had fallen out of his eternal fellowship with God into a tragic space of self-obsession, cursed by the time: “from dust to dust” (v.19). His body degenerated from eternal bliss into a wretched 930 years of pain and sorrow (Gen. 5:5). Imagine his experience!
Today the life span for us human critters is a measly 70 to 80 years. It may sound long but life is like a car flashing by on the expressway or a set of waves crashing on the shoreline. Time and space are full of deception. They are the curse of sin on Adam’s race, thats us. (All my fellow old codgers out there know these pains we feel ain’t what we expected in younger years).
I remember looking through a photo album in my parents attic. At the beginning was a photo of a little boy. The next page was of him with friends at a job. There were pictures of him with his family. Then in JUST A FEW PAGES, there was my grandpa, very old, wrinkled and sitting in a wheel chair. The last photo was of his funeral and grave site. Life is JUST A FEW PAGES in a photo album. And most people won’t even be remembered in a photo album. The Bible is full of men who mourn the vanity of life.
The impact of our immediate surroundings, the things and people we see, touch, and are touched by, define our little space and time on earth. The majority wrongly think our immediate space determines our level of peace. But nothing in this world, offers the peace we seek. This world has nothing but the curse of sin and all its deception, distractions and illusions: “The present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire” (2 Pt.3:10/1 Jn.2:15-17,5:19).
We wake up every day yearning for peace. We hope for something, or some one, to confirm the relevance of our existence. Our minutes, hours, days, months and years lie deceive us. They make us think our purpose is found in them. When you are all alone, you are forced to look within your inner space. And what you see is a nothing. God says Adam put “hostility” in us (Gen. 3:15). Neither time, knowledge or experience gives you peace. What if God offers you something you don’t know?
What is divine peace?
No matter how define it, peace of mind is usually something you hope for, or search for, to be found in the future. It is dependent a better time and place. What I mean is that procrastination is a monster born time. It says “Later….someday. At this time you’re fine”. Inlaid in our “Adam” nature, is a pride that insists “I’m fine”. But anxiety contradicts this lie. The “spirit in the air” says just roll on along, let time and space determine your future (Eph.2:2)
My brother, or sister, I’m not writing this for my ego or health. I love you man. I want to see you on the other side. The reality of your state does not occur on a surface level but at the subconscious level. The faint echo of “subconscious” fear leads into human frenzy. God alone sees our grief and offers His peace. You don’t know when your life will end. Today, you can grasp something you put off. JUST A WORD AWAY. Jesus loves you so much. He is waiting to reward your humility.
THE WORD OF THE CROSS (1 Cor.1:18/read Eph.2:13-16 )
Jesus says “My peace I leave with you” (Jn.14:27). The very peace in Jesus is what He left. But where did He leave it? In the Sea of Galilee? Hidden in a cave? On the Mount of Olives? Where do we go? Seriously. This is a matter of life or death, brother. In this insane dying world, afflicted with sin from within, and from around us, it is not a luxury. Peace is the only way to rescue your mind. We don’t have to fly to Israel and start a massive search. There is no record of Jesus leaving anything behind. So, where is His “peace”?
Jesus said, Look guys, it’s better that I go to heaven so I can send you the Holy Spirit, cuz when He comes, He will give you MY ETERNAL LIFE, here and now (John 16:7).
Finding peace starts with recognizing that there is no “IT” factor. Peace is not something you GET by getting “better”. It’s not a formula or prayer package. It doesn’t come from a warm fuzzy “good work”. It comes by dealing with the truth of your REAL condition. By facing your lack. By admitting that the “peace” you now have is defined by circumstances you manipulate. By admitting “I don’t understand”. Jesus says reality is where He will meet you (John 4:24). Being transparent and sincere is His only requirement. The cross is understood by all men, as here in the villages of Brazil.
You see, my precious brother or sister, something very real happened in Jesus on that cross. In His heart, Jesus bore the hostility in every one of us on earth, every lie, every fake pretense and ego, the deepest evil, against each other, and against God. Sin is not an act. It is the deep, unexplainable hostility in our nature. In His body He took on this nature and killed it dead. In that time and space, between the death and resurrection, the Father gave Jesus eternity as a reward for His sacrifice to give to us. Thus Jesus created a “new man”, freed of the hostility of sin. And freed from striving to attain goodness by obeying the law (read Eph.2:14-16/Rm.5:1). It is a gift.
This offer is no little thing. It cost Jesus His blood. It is not a fairy tale. Tortured for three hours, Jesus actually bore the pain of all time. In that time and space, He created the specific provision to our every need. He created the detailed means by which we can be fulfilled by love in Him. He was confined to the dimensions of a wooden cross. Every space in His body reeled with pain. He bore the agony of the most wicked ways in every man, in every moment of his time on earth.
Jesus entered every vile space in this world, including a jail cell, a street corner, every decrepit room in a ghetto, every place where vile sin was committed. Out of the nothing the Father exploded eternal life in His Son (Rm.4:17). There is no place or time He did not bear. He broke through the agony of all limitations put on every man.
Now the Father could finish His plan of redemption, because Jesus gave Him access to us through His own body. Jesus conquered the entire natural realm of man, so that in His resurrection body, full of eternal life, we can be freed of all hostility in our time and space on earth. He yearns to bring His space of victory into your space of defeat. Imagine being totally forgiven and never fearing death or hell. No matter what your burden on earth may be, this is the peace He offers us, here and now.
The living Jesus is the very substance of eternal life. He alone can regulate, negotiate and mediate our sin to His cross and by it reconcile us to the Father. No church, preacher or group can do this.
A soldier told Jesus, ‘just say the word and my servant will be healed’. You don’t have to climb a mountain. We don’t have to change our space or time. His space will fill your space. JUST A WORD AWAY (Rm.10:9-10).
Jesus says “IN ME” you will have peace (Jn.16:33). Peace is not a virtue He gives apart from Himself. Paul says “He Himself is our peace” (Eph. 2:14). His peace is the sign of real salvation. Be anxious for nothing. Peace is not an absence of conflict. It is not faith. It is the end of faith; the living Jesus.
ETERNAL LIFE; eternal “space and time”
Read Romans 1:20/Psalm 19:1- We are falsely told we can’t see things that are eternal. Every single thing created by God has a reflection of eternity. And all it takes is one real, eternal glimpse to look for more. The clouds, wind, rain, storms, trees, leaves, oceans, etc. reflect His Eternal Character. When we breath His air or feel the breeze, HIs eternal hands touch our heart with His love for us. Every day, all day creation “speaks” of His eternal glory (Romans 10:17-18).
When you ponder the achievements of man, they reflect the ways of a man. When you contemplate the creation of God Almighty, you contemplate His eternal character. You see a plan and a majesty. You see spectacular intelligence and creativity; love, kindness, purpose and meaning. You and I are His handiwork.
You are seeing eternal things when you look in a mirror and consider thousands of working parts and blood running through thousands of miles of veins and arteries, laid in microscopic places throughout your body. Your muscles move, protect and grow. You can’t hear even one valve open and close, yet there are hundreds. Your eyes blink and ears hear with no deliberate effort. My brother, all this and millions more reflect eternity. When we read the Word of God about Jesus, we touch eternal logic and divine sacrificial love.
All the stress and anxiety can be traced back to our grief of sin. It alone keeps us in lock down to the time and space fixed in our carnal mind. It blinds us with a kind of pouting self-pity. So, think about it, if we can open our heart we can find the wisdom leading us to eternal things f (1 Cor. 2).”This is the will of Him who sent Me….that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life” (John 6:40). When you “SEE” the Son, you crystalize eternal things (John 3:3).
Can you remember a time when you were a kid having so much fun you told your mom “I lost track of time and where I was”? I do it all the time when I go fishing or I’m sitting on a mountain. I get ‘caught up’. Well, this is an earthly example that you can escape time and space. How much more by something spiritual? Paul says THIS peace “passes all our human understanding” because the unseen defies the pressures of the things of this earth (Phil. 4:7).
“THIS IS ETERNAL LIFE: THAT THEY MAY KNOW YOU” (Jn.17:3).
My brother, or sister, eternity is not an illusion of the smart or elite but a gift for the downtrodden and the poor of heart.
Do you realize the entire Old Testament, of a complex system of sacrifices and laws, was written solely for God’s purpose to give back to men His peace, which Adam lost by sin? The Hebrew word for peace is SHALOM. The ancient Jeru (city) shalom (peace-healing-alvation) was a “type” of city where God reflected His ultimate purpose of an eternal peace in “New Jerusalem” (Jn.2:19/Mt.12:6/Rev.3:12, 21:1ff).
Jesus says that the peace, or rest, He offers us, here and now, “is not as the world gives” (Jn.14:27).
It is not in a brief personal experience or in the space of a “Sunday service”. The “sabbath” (rest), is fixed in the living Jesus, because His sacrifice resolved the obstacle of sin and created for us a new man in His Spirit. Shalom is the disposition of Christ; i.e. New Jersusalem. He is eternal life (Jn.17:3). Everything you have tried, in this domain of time and space, and everything you may yet try, can never give you the One Who comes down from heaven (Jn.6:33,50/Rev.3:12/ Heb.4:1ff ).
“For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and our government (the ruling of our lives) will be on His shoulders (on the cross). He will be named…PRINCE OF PEACE” (Is. 9:6).
Jesus promises all men His peace will cleanse you of all sin and remove the weight of guilt and shame. Imagine unlimited forgiveness. (Jn.3:3,4:24/1 Cor.15:45/Heb.10:22). Time and space need no longer have jurisdiction over your life (Col.3:15) Hope is the courage to believe God Who will take you BEYOND yourself. His Word is waiting to release eternal rivers of living water (John 7:37-38/Hebrews 4:12). Just A Word Away, in spirit and truth (Jn.4:24/Rom.10:6-10).