By Hall Green
Imagine watching the end of a movie, seeing how wonderfully things turn out. How would it be to see the end before watching the rest of the movie? Now imagine that this movie is really the story of your life, including your final destiny.
The Christian faith says this: everything will end well, eternally. If things are not well right now, it is not yet the end. No matter what you may have to go through during your life, your end in and with God is assured. Jesus is the goal and guarantor of our blessed end.
Jesus offered us this assurance just before he died for us: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3). This is the Christian hope and faith.
This is the reason why Jesus could go on to say to us: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid” (John 14:27). Note: only God can grant eternal peace.
Peace is fundamentally relational. That is, peace is always with some person or situation. There are two basic focuses of peace: this life and the life to come. The central peace offered by God in the Hebrew Bible is “shalom,” and it signifies a peace for here and now. As an accurate analogy: Imagine tossing a rock into a still pond. The point of ingress will raise the highest circular waves, with each expanding wave being of less and less intensity, until the last wave either dissipates or reaches the banks.
Just so, shalom is first a peace with God and then, built on that, a peace with yourself, your spouse, your family, your friends, your neighbors, etc. It represents both an absence of hostilities and an indwelling of felt well-being.
The peace of Christ is well-being for both this life and the life to come. The life to come will include an eternal peace with God founded on a unity with Jesus, who promised “that where I am, there you may be also.”
You could turn this into a breath prayer: breathe in “where I am,” and breathe out, “you will be also.” Let your breath be as an unbroken, unbreakable span of faith drawing you and Christ ever closer.
(Hal Green, Ph.D., is an author. You can contact him at email@example.com.)