I love these words from Teresa of Avila, a devoted follower of Jesus in the 16th century. Teresa was said to have had this reminder as a bookmark in her prayer book which she carried with her. I imagine these words served as an encouragement to her, especially through her most difficult days.
These words echo the words of Jesus in the 14th chapter of John’s gospel. Twice He tells His disciples, “Do not let your heart be troubled” ( v.1 and v.27). And in verse 27 He adds, “nor let it be fearful.” He says this to them as they are about to enter what was probably the most turbulent 3 days of their lives. Their friend and trusted Messiah is about to be taken from them in the worst possible way. Their dreams, their hopes, their expectations of a glorious future will all die with Jesus. So how can they NOT be troubled and afraid through this?
“Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing make you afraid.” How does one go through such loss and hurt and not be troubled and afraid? Jesus told them in the first half of v. 27. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you...” As Christians, having God’s peace is our birthright. There are many things in life which are lost, taken away, or never ours to begin with. But God’s peace is not one of those things. True, we have to hang on to it and sometimes fight to keep it. Our adversary is always at work trying to take it from us. But God’s peace is ours to keep. Our task (by the grace of God) is to hang on to peace and not let go.
The truth is, Jesus knew what His disciples could not conceive. That is, that the turmoil and loss that they were about to go through would have a glorious ending. God had it all under control. The same is true for us. Whatever loss or pain-causing turmoil is happening in life right now is in the hands of our heavenly Father. It is under His control and He will bring good out of it. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. If you have lost the peace that is yours in Christ, God wants you to have it back. Whatever is happening in your life is not outside of God’s sovereign hand. He is the God of resurrection and redemption. Though we cannot see His ultimate purpose in allowing our circumstances, He promises that He is working behind the scenes for our good. Therefore we need not be troubled or dismayed.
Peace to you this day.