In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith the salvation of your souls. (1 Pet 1.3-9)
All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.
Triune God, you have revealed to us that the works of darkness and injustice have to be conquered by the dying and rising of Jesus. Jesus' offer of peace encourages us to imitate him in breaking the bonds of inhumanity, of injustice, of hatred, of disunity. Strengthen us with your Spirit of peace that we may always hate evil, love good and establish justice. Do not allow us to cry "Peace" when we are comfortable but declare war against those who go hungry and live in precarious situations. Enable us to find your peace in humble and courageous service of the least of these who are members of your family. Amen.
Oh Lord, sometimes my insides feel like a battle zone, where missiles are falling too close to home. Other times I'm caught in an endless storm, with thoughts flying out of control. Confusion reigns, and defeat creeps in to steal my joy. I need your peace—the deep-down-in-your-heart kind that stays with me day and night and speaks confidently into the wind. Calm my anxious spirit, Lord; all the attacking "if-onlys" and "what-ifs" fill me with needless worry.