Jesus welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those in need. Luke 9:11

Seeds of the Kingdom

Peace for the Journey

by Sue Sainsbury

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
John 14:27, NIV

I simply love stories: especially films and books that portray true stories, the stories of real people’s lives.

The first time we watch a film it can be so scary. We don’t know how it will turn out; we don’t know who will be lost or what the cost will be. The second time we can watch without the same high emotion but observe more of the detail. We know what will happen and we can come out from behind the sofa and enjoy the development.

I love stories of courage, of resilience, of selflessness. When they’re set in a historical period of time, I annoy my husband continually by googling the situation to see how it turned out. Then, even if the twists and turns of the individual lives are dramatic and uncertain, I feel safer knowing the bigger picture.

But the reality of any story worth telling is that there are so many unknowns. There are twists and turns and confusions in any given moment. A good story takes the characters on a journey. As the plot unfolds, it turns on the reality that we don’t know how it will end. Will there be a ‘happy ending’, and what costs will there be along the way? The key is not to stop reading a book or watching a film at the deepest point of peril. The ‘turn’ will come. The curve will bottom out. The trajectory of hope will rise afresh.

This is never more true than in the stories of our own lives. I wonder what we feel about where we are in our story with God? Do we feel too old; that our lives have slipped by in a flash, and we regret and grieve and fear that it’s now too late… for what… for anything… for God? Do we feel we’re too young, too inexperienced, that we don’t know enough to be useful, to live the Big Story we long for with Him? Are we somehow disqualifying ourselves in a way that God never does? This Father is the One who’s designed us all so uniquely and equipped us so perfectly for whatever He has for us - this day and the next!

Every moment is but a ‘moment’ in our story. A snapshot: significant, of course, vital even. But it’s not the whole story. Wherever we are on the trajectory of the journey of our lives, high at the top or deep in a pit somewhere near the bottom, it is but a moment in the whole. And the whole is lived with Jesus who journeys with us.

When Jesus tells His disciples that He is leaving them, they are confused. This isn’t what they’d expected. They’ve given up everything to follow Him and they’ve faced much uncertainty already, even with Him beside them. But they want to be with Him into the future, whatever it holds. Now they’re confused and probably more than a bit frightened.

And then He says those utterly powerful words that are a promise to all of us, whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, however frightening or frustrating or exciting this moment in our lives is: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

These aren’t words that are given glibly or flippantly or superficially in times of plenty and certainty. These are deep, true, powerful words that contain a promise to these confused and worried disciples in their uncertain days. And so to us; wherever we find ourselves today.

Sue Sainsbury and her husband, John, have just begun a big, new adventure as part of the leadership team at Ellel Grange, where they are committed to living lives as disciples of Jesus and helping others on their journey with Him.


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