But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:26-27 ESV).

Maybe it’s the dreary skies or colder temperatures of winter, whatever the motivation, I’m brought back to memories of times spent traveling the roads through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. This picture today was taken at sunset in Cades Cove. There have been a few times when we have been and though good fortune we have found a moment when it appeared we were all alone in this idyllic setting. Sometimes I wonder why we didn’t go more frequently when we lived so close. Perhaps that was a squandered opportunity. I do know, that the memories I have of those trips are all filled with a strong sense of peace and joy. Today, I miss that. So, I have turned to the Scripture for a bit of encouragement. Perhaps it’s that kind of day for you and these verses will be of help to you as well.

Let’s begin with today’s reading. Jesus was facing his imminent betrayal and arrest that would lead to his death. His concern was that his friends be left with peace. So he simply declares that blessing on them. I am no different than they; he has bestowed that peace on me as well. To really feel that peace in my soul I simply must recognize that this day is really temporary. The psalmist says we are “to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). That’s just encouragement to be a wise steward of my remaining days. That great day of home-going is getting closer with each passing moment. David understood that. Luke writes in Acts, “David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep” (Acts 13:36). Whatever I do today, I really do pray it has been done to serve the purpose of God for me in my time.

This past year has been full of surprises. It doesn’t take long to think that the “status quo” is forever and change is impossible. How far from the truth that has been! It has been a great reminder for me as the changes have come, that God is never changing. Whether it was a diagnosis of a chronic illness for Mary, new health issues for me, or the move of our middle son and his family to Florida I can be at peace knowing that it is His peace I have been given.

So, now I am looking forward to brighter days both here and there. Now, I am certain they will come. Now, I am at peace. Think on these things with me as I pray for you and you for me. We are overcomers  in His wonderful name!