All of this talk of a future home and a promised hope, however, should not be mistaken for a simple evacuation to the “great beyond.” This hope is not simply a far-off dream or an escape hatch to disconnect us from life in this present world. In the next chapters of John, Jesus explained to His followers why they had so much reason for hope in the here and now—concluding His teaching time with one of the most expansive promises in the New Testament: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (john 16:33).
John 16:33 affirms that the hope we have for eternity found in John 14 is connected to the peace that enables us to endure the trials and challenges of life here. Paul affirms this present peace in two of his letters and tells us how that peace comes to us in the anxieties we face. In Philippians 4:6–7, the apostle points out that this peace is, in part, the byproduct of the privilege of prayer:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Prayer allows us to access our greatest resource—the God of the universe—who is more than sufficient for any of the trials we wrestle with. This underlines what Jesus told His disciples in John 14:1, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” It is our relationship with the Father through His Son that gives us that very access (john 14:6), so that His promise of peace is not only for the next life—it is very much for the present life.
Additionally, Paul told the churches at Galatia that peace was also the result of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christ-follower: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (galatians 5:22–23).
As we walk in the Spirit (galatians 5:16), He works in our lives to bear the fruit that represents the heart of Jesus. As a result, we not only have the promise of an eternal home where we will know peace forever, we also have the privilege of prayer and the presence of the Spirit to provide us with the daily peace that can carry us through the dark, difficult days when life seems to go spinning out of control.
How can we be sure? The Prince of Peace has gone to the cross and defeated the grave to make it so. In the words of Vivian Kretz’s classic hymn:1
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee. When the shadows come and darkness falls, He giveth inward peace.O He is the only perfect resting place, He giveth perfect peace! Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.
1 Copyright 1934. Renewal 1962 by Vivian Kretz Amsley. Assigned to Singspiration, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.