Have you ever gotten a gift you didn’t use?
Of course you have. The bath set from Aunt Mildred that smelled like a bad air freshener; the coffee table book about Egyptian mummies; the hand-knit beanie for your dog . . . we’ve all had those gifts that we opened, mustered up a smile and said, “Oh, thank you!” while knowing it would find its way to a dark corner (or the thrift store) soon.
Leaving those gifts untouched is understandable—but what would you say to the person who didn’t use a perfect, cherished, valuable gift? Imagine you need a new fridge, and you wake up Christmas morning to a top-of-the line Amana sitting in your kitchen with a big, red bow on it.
Only . . .you never use it.
It just sits there with the fading bow, day after day. Gathering dust.
That’s nuts, you’d say! I’d never do that!
But, we do that EVERY DAY with an even bigger, better, more valuable gift than that.
It’s something we ask for in a 100 different ways every day—I know I do. Sometimes in a prayer, sometimes in a complaint, sometimes in the middle of the sleeplessness that plagues our nights. We might not use the actual word, but boy are we asking for it.
What is it?
In John 14:27, Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you—not as the world gives, I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
Jesus gave us peace as a GIFT. Have you ever thought about it that way? I remember the first time I heard it put this way—it was actually on the morning show with Taylor. We talked a lot about peace back in 2020 when it seemed to be in such short supply. He reminded us that we don’t have to go out looking for peace—because Jesus gave it to us as a gift. Once and done. Pretty sure I just sat there with my mouth open—because I’d never thought of it that way. It’s amazing, I’ve been reading the Bible for over 4 decades and I still learn something new (almost) every day.
Because if it’s a gift, it implies that we just have to USE it . . . not attain it in some way.
But we so often make it difficult, don’t we? Have you ever thought something along these lines: Maybe I could have peace:
- IF ONLY I were smarter/better speaker/richer/better looking/made different in some way
- IF ONLY I prayed more, complained less, served more, could do more good works to earn it
- IF ONLY I hadn’t messed up so much to this point because now I just can’t have peace. It’s for other people. Quiet people. Good people.
Of course you have—we’ve all had at least one or all of those thoughts. Peace is for someone else who deserves it more. But peace, like our salvation, has been freely given to us by God through Christ. And what comes with that peace is truly remarkable.
Maybe you’ve had the honor of encountering peace in your family and friends:
Peace looks like the couple that has gone through four years of infertility; finally has a baby but that baby has complications. They cry, they fear, they worry—but they raise their heads to the sky and say, “Your Will, Lord.” And they mean it.
Peace looks like giving up on your dream the way you envisioned it and say, “Your will, not mine.” Life 107.1 artist Andrew Ripp’s says when he and his wife started saying that instead of “help us get pregnant,” God opened the door for them to adopt their daughter. Andrew says now, “Before you get to some parts of faith you have to go through pain.” Wow. That’s peace.
Peace is sitting in a support class in the midst of divorce, tears streaming down your face, feeling the death of your family as you know it, but saying, “Your will, not mine. I’ll use it to help someone else.”
Peace is saying, “Well, there’s no food—let’s say grace anyway!” And then having both a bread truck and a milk truck break down in front of your orphanage and donate everything to you. That’s just one of many stories about George Mueller’s great faith.
Peace looks like you, in the midst of the chaos and violence of the world, in the midst of dis-unity, asking, “what is my part and how can I do better?”
Peace in your everyday life looks exactly the opposite of every comment section on every social media post on every news site on the internet. It’s the opposite of hysteria in the news. The opposite of in-fighting in a family, a church body, and the body of Christ.
Peace does not mean the absence of storms, fears and disagreements. But, peace means you deal with them differently . . . not like the world.
If you were trying to lift a boulder off your child’s leg and Superman flew in, would you wave him off and say, “I’ve got this.” Of course not!!
So, why do we do that to God?
I remember the day our friend Joe stood in front of my son Benjamin and I with the keys to that truck and said, “Take them.” My son had totaled his car the night before. I couldn’t afford to get him anything else. In fact, I had said to my teammates during prayer that morning—“I’m really curious to see how God is going to work this out.”
Well, He worked it out through a good friend who just happened to have an extra “well loved” truck. As tears ran down my face, I just kept saying, “No, no, no, we can’t.” My son literally backed away from the keys like they were on fire. It was too much. Too valuable. Too big.
And Joe just smiled and said, “Please. Let God do this.”
And so, I’ll say that to you. Jesus is standing in front of you dangling the keys to peace right in your face—and you and I are backing away in . . . fear? Control? Pride? I’m not sure what it is–except foolish. You will never find such a gift from anything you can do or the world can give you. Not your marriage, your kids, your job, your looks or your service.
So. Accept the keys. Please let God do this.
Jen Green is co-host of Life 107.1 KNWI’s Mornings with Taylor and Jen and Listener Engagement Director. You can reach her at email@example.com.