Last night was one of those nights. I didn’t get the uninterrupted kind of sleep we all need that produces refreshment. Long ago, I learned a marriage principle. Talk about uplifting and affirming things as a couple when you get into bed. I violated that principle and became a living metaphor of failure. I started a conversation that was best left for another time. By initiating the conversation, I got my brain going in the wrong direction at bedtime.
Our pre-slumber conversation had to do with maintaining our peace in uncertain times when so many of us are in a place of emotional and spiritual unrest. We talked about how people are choosing to lead churches, governmental restrictions, and all the people who see this moment in history through a different lens. As Jan was drifting off to slumberland, she uttered words about protecting our peace. I wish I had listened to her wise counsel. Instead, I remained awake trying to create rebuttals and the content of an imaginary position paper on a wide variety of issues. In the process, I lost my peace, and my ability to rest.
I realize there is a tremendous amount of pain, sorrow, and suffering taking place, some of it close to home. As strange as it can appear if handled appropriately and with sensitivity, healthy humor is sometimes needed to vent our pent-up feelings and examine their validity. This morning, I came across verses Paul wrote to the Corinthian church. Of course, he was talking about spiritual freedom in Christ from the law, but I could not help reading Paul’s words and inserting our current government requirements into the verse. As I read the following verses and took them out of their original context (providing my emphasis), I had to chuckle.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is FREEDOM. And we, who with UNVEILED FACES all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (II Corinthians 3:17-18). As I read the verses to Jan and we shared a smile because the verse seemed so apropos to a current cultural debate. My peace returned in the moment of humorous clarity and correction because I realized once again, our peace is linked to something immovable and unchanging and not subject to any earthly hindrance, or my failed interpretation of reality.
A peace that requires an earthly resolution is not real peace. Jesus said “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The peace of God brings freedom to our earthy existence in times of real or perceived bondage. Its potential can never be diminished no matter who or what tries to veil our lives or restrict our freedom. That knowledge gives us the ability to rest peacefully and trust the Lord no matter what is taking place.