“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
John 14:25–27, ESV
As Jesus was speaking these words to His disciples, He was not only offering them comfort but also warning. God does not want His followers to become overwhelmed with fear and concern. As Christians, we are not meant to panic but to put everything to prayer and trust that our Lord has it all in control. Does this mean that everything will go well in a worldly sense? By no means. We know that all of the Apostles suffered, yet they were at peace. Martyrs have a great sense of peace and there are many accounts of them singing and praying before their lives are taken. It doesn’t mean that they have no fear or find it a joyful thing to suffer. For the faithful, the witness is what is vital. Life outside of Christ is no life at all for the faithful believer. None, however, could withstand all of it without the Holy Spirit. The greatest gift of the Holy Spirit is not the gift of tongues or healing or prophecy, but faith. Faith to withstand an onslaught of violence in words and actions that attempt to crush the spirit of the believer. Faith in the face of great pain and suffering. To meet someone with great calm in the midst of chaos is a most powerful thing. It can create reactions that seem out of step with reality, yet, this is what our Lord gives us when we walk faithfully in His Word. Like the first recorded martyr of the Christian faith, Stephen, to stand and proclaim Christ as his life ebbed away is not something that he did by his own will but rather in Christ, and through the power of the Holy Spirit was he able to witness and proclaim with his last breath. This is the power of the faith that we hold and the God whom we worship. In this may we find our peace.
Let us pray. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you to protect me this day also from sin and every evil, that in all I do today, I may please you. For into your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel watch over me, that the wicked foe have no power over me. Amen.