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Want Peace Today...

“Everyone keep your hands where we can see them!” said the blue jacketed man who had just entered the room. All of a sudden, the loud rock music that was playing was silent and murmurs of excitement and fear could be heard from the main room of the house where the party was at its height. I could see through the doorway opposite of me that more men and women with blue coats were hassling the crowd. My drug hazed brain was having trouble adjusting to what was happening, but finally it came clear, a drug bust! As one of the men turned I saw DEA blazoned in yellow on his back. My first thought was, “What am I holding?” Did I have my stash on me? But relief flowed through me, no I had come without it.

Soon there was commotion in every room as people were being rounded up. I saw Jim the owner of the party house being cuffed as a young woman in a blue jacket seemed to be reading him his rights. My eyes were fixated on the scene as I heard my name coming from a voice I didn’t recognize, “John Weston, is that your name? Sir can you hear me?” I focused on an agent who was now standing in front of me. He said again, “Is your name John Weston?” I immediately was in a state of utter panic. Should I say no, should I lie? But I heard my voice say, “Yeah, that’s right. What do you want?” I was trying to sound tougher than I felt. The agent said, “I have a warrant for your arrest for the trafficking of narcotics.” I was stunned as another agent was lifting me out of my chair, I could barely hear through the haze as he read me my rights. The cuffs were on I was headed to a jail, what could I do now?

In life, there are so many times where the decisions we have made or circumstances we get ourselves into begin to dictate a life where we are no longer in control. Sometimes it may be circumstances that are forced upon us without our involvement such as a worldwide pandemic, illness of a loved one or a sudden death of a family member or close friend. Either through our own choice or not life seems to spiral out of control.

With recent events and unsure health both RuthAnn and myself have had a year like most. Things that were once routine now demand tough decisions and changed plans almost daily. With this comes the anger, frustration, and doubt. The question becomes, “How do we find peace when there seems to be no peace to be found?

I guess one of the best places to start for me is always with the words of Jesus. In the gospel of John, he says this, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. Not as the world do I give you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27) Sounds pretty simplistic, doesn’t it? But if you look closer you will see that it is chock full of everything we need to find peace.

First, Jesus says, he gives the peace. Think about that for a minute. When the circumstances arise and there is no peace to be found, the only place you can turn is to Him who can give it to you. If you are willing and truly believe, turn to Him in prayer, “Jesus, I can’t handle this. You have promised me your peace. Please I need it right now.” Realizing He is in control can give us the peace we are seeking.

Secondly, we are told that the peace we receive is not like that of the world. How often when I have found my world out of control have I turned to worldly solutions. Used to be alcohol or drugs. Maybe for you it is that extra cup of coffee or piece of pie. But do any of these actually bring peace? More times than not they will just add to the problems. Jesus knew this about us. He knew that our fallen natures seek refuge in hiding places, but he says. “Not as the world do I give you.” The choice is there for us, we can choose the world or Jesus.

The third part of this verse is the best! Jesus promises us comfort. He says, “Let your heart not be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Yes, the circumstances around you are out of your control. Your life seems like it is not your own. But with your eyes upon the Savior, trusting that if you accept His peace, your hearts need not be trouble, fear can vanish. The simple prayer I mentioned above can be the beginning of your peace. The question is are you and I willing to acknowledge that in this life there will be times of trouble, Jesus told us there would, but His peace is there for the taking, just ask.

As with so many times in my life, I see now that the Lord was watching over me even amid my arrest for dealing drugs. After spending several days in the county jail and being questioned several times, the evidence against me was insufficient for the DA to prosecute. And even though the charges were never officially dropped. I was never tried. Once released, I quit dealing drugs forever. It did not stop my drug usage which continued for many years beyond this but I believe that it kept me from a prison life which I might not have survived. In those days, I did not turn the turmoil of my life over to Him that brings peace and continued to seek what the world had to offer, result years lost. Today in all turmoil I like that prayer, “Jesus, I can’t handle this. You have promised me your peace. I need it right now.” Maybe your life seems out of control…. Why not pray with me, what have you got to lose, when there is so much more to gain!

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