SCRIPTURE: So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." (John 20:19-21, NASB)

STORY: After Jesus was murdered, His disciples huddled behind locked doors in the upper room. Imagine their terror and crushing disappointment. Their conquering King was dead. And the wicked men who crucified Him would soon come after them. They had put all of their trust and confidence in Him. But nothing turned out like they expected. All hope was lost... or so they thought. Then Jesus shows up!

If Hollywood were writing this script, the hero would come swooping in and save the day by getting his followers out of harm's way. But that's not Jesus' style. He is no ordinary superhero. He's the resurrected Christ who meets His followers right where they are and empowers them to serve Him faithfully, no matter their circumstances. Jesus doesn't rescue the disciples out of their scary circumstances? No. Instead, He enters into that frightening space with them. And in His presence, they experience PEACE.

The Lord has promised to never leave or forsake His people. He may not take us out of the struggle. But, He promises to enter into it with us. And when we fix our eyes on Him... when we focus on what He has done for us rather than what the world is doing to us... we can experience unimaginable peace in His presence.

APPLICATION for today's Christ-follower: JESUS rose from the grave. He is alive! Is He capable of delivering you out of your struggle? Absolutely. And that is a reasonable prayer to the God who conquers death for you. But, if He chooses not to rescue you from your current troubles, don't despair. He promises to enter into that difficult space with you, and empower you to not only survive but thrive there. Take your eyes off of the present and place them squarely on His presence. He is PEACE.

PRAYER: Lord, thank You for Your promise to never leave or forsake me. In a world that can be so harsh and frightening, You quiet my heart and mind with Your presence. You don't just offer peace, Lord. You are Peace. By Your Spirit, help me find my confidence in You, the One who came and died for me, conquered death for me, rose from the grave for me, and gave me the gift of eternal life with You. You are my life... my hope... my joy... my peace. In the might name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, I pray and praise You. Amen.