More than money, fame, power, or status, peace is the most sought-after experience in this world. But it seems so elusive. How can you experience it?
The Bible speaks about peace some 397 times as a real experience for those who trust God. Isaiah 9:6 calls Jesus the Prince of Peace, as if to indicate that if you want peace, get to know the Prince. In the Upper Room Discourse of John 14, Jesus spoke about three different experiences of peace He gives His followers:
1. Peace in a troubled world. In verse 27, Jesus didn't just say, "Peace I leave with you" but also "My peace I give to you" (emphasis mine). To paraphrase, "I am going to cause you to be restful, tranquil, and peaceful inside your hearts and minds with the same kind of rest, tranquility, and peace I have inside My heart and mind."
Jesus also promised an otherworldly kind of peace: "Not as the world gives do I give to you" (v. 27). You won't find this kind of peace in the world; it's something far deeper and longer lasting. Then He said, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (v. 27). This implies stopping an action that's already going on, which tells me that, yes, God promises peace, but you have to appropriate that promise. That's how you can be deeply at peace while the world seems to be falling apart around you.
2. Peace in temporal waiting. "You have heard Me say to you, 'I am going away and coming back to you'" (v. 28). Now, when would Jesus be coming back? At the resurrection, but also eventually when He returns to this earth—which we're still waiting for.
And you're to have peace in this world as you wait for that. How? As Jesus said in verse 29, "I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe." In other words, if all the things Jesus predicted have happened, then when He said, "I'm going to come back to rule and reign," you can have confidence He's going to do that, too.
3. Peace in spiritual warfare. "I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me" (v. 30). Who is the ruler of this world? Satan (see John 12:31). Now, in context, this probably refers to Judas coming to betray Jesus. But Judas was just Satan's pawn.
Notice, however, that Jesus said that "he has nothing in Me," meaning Satan has no hold on Him—he can't manipulate Him. If you're a child of God, Satan will tempt and harass you, but he also has no hold on you, because "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4). And because of that, you can have peace in spiritual warfare.
We all need bracings to bear up under the load of life. What are your bracings? Maybe you would say your marriage, children, parents, friends, or church. All of those are good things, but you need to be able to say, "I also have the peace of God. It anchors me. Because I know the Prince of Peace and I believe what He said, I can abide in God's peace." I pray that would be true of you and your life.