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IN TOUCH WITH GOD    by Edward Heppenstall

 
Faithful to Christ OCTOBER 13

MAN'S ANXIETY AND CHRIST'S SERENITY

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.... Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27.

These are remarkable words to be spoken under such circumstances and at such a time. It was the night before Jesus was to die. He and His disciples were in the upper room in the city of Jerusalem. The city was crowded with pilgrims. Roman soldiers patrolled the streets to put down the first sign of rebellion. Unrest was in the atmosphere. At that moment the high priest was plotting Christ's death. Judas was with the high priest. He had sold his Lord for thirty pieces of silver. In a very short time Christ would go from that upper room to Gethsemane. All His disciples would forsake Him and flee. The soldiers would come to arrest Him; His trial and crucifixion would follow. But He says to His disciples, "My peace I give unto you. My peace I leave with you." How could He be at peace in view of all that was about to happen to Him? Yet He was. In Him was that almost incredible serenity and tranquillity of mind, born of His perfect harmony with, and trust in, His Father in heaven.

There is no anxiety in life quite so bad as seeing nothing beyond ourselves. The contradictions within are unsolvable by our own efforts. Frances Havergal, a radiant Christian and one of our great hymn writers, suffered from a pain-ridden body all her life. She said, "Everybody I meet is sorry for me except myself. I always see my pain in the light of Calvary." Many people develop basic anxieties owing to rejection they meet in life; others have a fixation upon worldly values, hoping to get meaning and satisfaction this way.

The serenity of Jesus came from His surrender to God, not from an escape from life's problems and responsibilities. Jesus does not give us peace by dulling the mind, but by lifting us into union with Himself. When we look into the sky at night we see the glorious majesty of a divine direction of the universe, free from haste, as though the stars were standing still. It is a measure of the serenity of God, who directs the stars in their distinctive paths. So it can be with us under His control and direction. One of the great privileges of the Christian is the gift of peace. This peace is not something apart from Christ. "The fruit of the Spirit is peace."

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