Peace in Troubled Times

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

It’s almost an understatement to say that people are under tremendous stress. Only 5 percent of adults say they have no stress at all in their daily lives. Medical research indicates that 75 to 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related complaints. Illnesses such as stomach disorders, insomnia, muscle aches, headaches, back pain, high blood pressure, cancer, cirrhosis and lung ailments are linked to the cares, difficulties and troubles of life. Forty percent of all worker turnover is due to job stress. The proportion of workers who reported “feeling highly stressed” more than doubled in the last decade.

A survey by USA Today cited work, money and children as the major sources of stress. Health, marriage and parents are also major contributing factors. It would therefore seem logical to suggest that the only way to deal with stress is to stop working, give away all your money, stay clear of children, take your vitamins, avoid marriage and disown your parents . . . Just kidding!

Laughter helps release stress as does crying, sleeping and eating chocolate (this last suggestion comes from my wife). When the stock market was experiencing a number of fluctuations and investors had cause for concern one investor went to his stockbroker to gain some reassurance. He asked his broker if he was worried. The stockbroker said he was sleeping like a baby. “Really?” the investor said, “Even with all these fluctuations?” “Yes,” said the stockbroker. “Just like a baby . . . I sleep for a couple of hours, then I wake up and cry for a couple of hours!”

Seriously, help is available for troubled hearts. Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” John 14:27. Matthew 6:25, 27&33 adds, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than clothes? . . . Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life . . . But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

You can have peace in troubled times. To know Jesus is to know peace. Enter into a relationship with Him. “Be still and know that I am God” says the Lord in Psalm 46:10. And how do you come to know Jesus? You invite Him to take up residence in your life. When you open the door He comes in (cf. Revelation 3:20). Confess your sin, ask Him to take away your guilt, welcome Him as your friend, “and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:7.

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