Do you ever have the feeling that something is missing? Oh, you may be fairly successful, and other people think your life is going pretty well. But deep inside, down in the depths of your soul, you simply do not have true peace and serenity. And the more time passes by without experiencing peace and serenity, the more you crave it.
Maybe you’re hoping that someday in the near future you will experience perfect peace—as soon as you resolve all the stressful aspects of your life. But the years are ticking by faster and faster, and that elusive peace is still way out there in the future, and you’re starting to think that maybe you’ll never reach a point where you’re filled with true peace and serenity.
Well, there’s a good reason why perfect peace is so elusive: we’re really not meant to have it—at least not in this world. In the first reading at Mass this week, Paul and Barnabas said this about living the Christian life: “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” Many hardships? Whoa!
The main reason we often feel that something is missing—that true peace and serenity are so elusive—is the fact this world is really not our home. Oh sure, our natural bodies were born here, and we’ll spend the better part of a century living on this earth, but when it comes to the real us, our soul and spirit, this world is not home. Our true home is with our Creator in Heaven.
Perfect peace and serenity will not be ours until we join our Lord in Heaven. In this week’s second reading, St. John describes what will happen at that time: “[God] will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.”
Knowing that true peace and serenity await us in Heaven can give us hope and help us persevere when times are difficult. But let’s be honest, a correct understanding of the situation can be somewhat discouraging. Knowing that most of our days here on earth are going to be filled with, as Paul and Barnabas said, “many hardships,” is kind of depressing.
However, it’s important to remember that Jesus understands our dilemma, and He offers us a way to experience some of Heaven’s perfect peace and serenity right here on earth. In one of the greatest verses in the whole Bible, John 16:33, Jesus summarizes our problem and offers the solution: “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But be of good cheer! I have overcome the world.”
Jesus doesn’t sugarcoat it. He tells us that we are certain to have trouble in this world. But despite our troubles, He insists we still can be of good cheer because He has overcome the world. The power of God is greater than the power of sin and death that infects this world. And the glimpse of true peace Jesus offers us is greater than anything the secular culture can offer.
We have to submit ourselves totally to Christ and let His spirit fill our hearts. Then and only then will we be able to experience a small portion of His peace here in this world.
This world is not our home. Our true home is Heaven, the place where we will experience perfect peace and serenity for all eternity. But while we are here, if we are “in Christ,” He will help us deal with our troubles. He makes it possible for us to “be of good cheer” in this fallen world. And that makes all the difference.