“I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left – feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.” John 14:27 (MSG)
” 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)
These are verses I say to myself (or similar ones) when I feel out of my comfort zone. They are not meditation mantras. They are cries for real help in times of my real need. In my times of my real fear.( i.e.Going through the airport check in, driving in bad weather, moving along in tight places, shoulder to shoulder in a strange location with lots of people. I am only 5’3″.)
It is peace given to me from the One who knows me and my needs.
The scriptures are filled with references encouraging, even instructing the person receiving the message to: be not afraid, be strong, fear not. have courage.
It is as though THE SPEAKER knew THE RECEIVER would be stepping into new territory, out of their comfort zone. Even though walking into uncharted lands , the Receiver was never alone.
The words from John 14 were among Jesus’ final gifts of encouragement at the Last Supper. Sadly, His followers were not able to completely embrace everything spoken that night. Too much would happen far too quickly.
I love Peter’s example of going full force to live a life for Jesus. He knew Jesus was the Son of God.
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.
Luke 9: 20 NIV
Deep in Peter’s heart, he really believed he knew Jesus. Peter saw, lived, and experienced the Kingdom of God right here on earth through the touch of this man’s hand. He saw Jesus love and acceptance. Jesus was Peter’s friend. Peter declared he was willing to die with Jesus . Bold ,Strong Peter.
Peter told him, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the disciples said the same thing.
Matt. 26:25 ISV
In our enthusiasm, Sunday morning worship, are we any different? In the Garden of Gethsemane, would we have done the same as bold Peter, trying to protect Jesus from the guards with the sword? (John 18:10)
Jesus is arrested. The apostles scatter. Their leader is gone. Fear takes over. Darkness and uncertainty wipes away the encouraging words spoken. Instead of peace, Peter’s heart is filled with questions, anxiety and terror.
Standing by a fire, trying to keep warm, he is twice questioned concerning about his relationship with Jesus. Peter, denies knowing even knowing his friend at all. With the third inquiry,
71Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!”
Mark 14 71 NLT
Peter’s mind returns to the words Jesus earlier gently expressed:
“Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
Mark 14:72 NLT
Realizing he had lied, denied his best friend, failed in his own strength, Peter wept.
God knows the beautiful creation He put in each one of us, but our own flesh stands in the way of fully serving God. We say YES but times of testing allows the YES to be played out.
Fear has a negative reputation.. As much as I do not enjoy the experience, in God’s hands, fear has great benefits. In the flesh, Peter felt invincible. He said he would do anything for Jesus. It was not until Peter realized he would be called out of his comfort zone and could not rely on his Bold Peter ‘s Strength Alone that Jesus could use him.
This is the beginning of the FEAR NOT discussions. When I’m in my comfort zone I at least, feel as though I can do what I am asked to do.
What happens when God calls me to do something I do not feel as though I can do? Big or little.~
FEAR NOT FOR I AM WITH YOU.
We can discuss those challenges and how to handle them next time.
Fear is not comfortable, but when released into the hands of the Creator, He can take the negative and shape it into a beautiful worship filled response.
I welcome your responses or comments about fear. Can you see how it has been used in a positive way?
Beautiful sun photo taken by Norma Pust.