a sign of spring
From Tim Keller’s Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering:
Today, when you read books or websites on overcoming anxiety and handling fear, they usually talk about removing thoughts. They say: Do not think about that; do not think those negative thoughts. Control your thoughts, expel the negative ones. But here we see the peace of God is not the absence of negative thoughts, it is the presence of God himself. “The God of peace will be with you” (Phil 4:9).
Christian peace does not start with the ousting of negative thinking. If you do that, you may simply be refusing to face how bad things are. That is one way to calm yourself–by refusing to admit the facts. But it will be a short-lived peace! Christian peace doesn’t start that way. It is not that you stop facing the facts, but you get a living power that comes into your life and enables you to face those realities, something that lifts you up over and through them.
Many believers have experienced this peace of God. It is not just positive thinking or willpower. It is a sense that no matter what happens, everything will ultimately be all right, even though it may not be at all right at the moment. In my experience, people usually break through to this kind of peace only in tragic situations, often in the valley of the shadow of death. Here is a metaphor for it. If you have ever been on a coast in a storm and seen the waves come in and hit the rocks, sometimes the waves are so large that they cover a particular rock, and you think, ‘That is the end of that rock.’ But when the waves recede, there it is still. It hasn’t budged an inch. A person who feels the ‘peace that passes understanding; is like that. No matter what is thrown at you, you know it will not make you lose your footing. Paul of course is the classic example. He is beaten; he is stoned; he is flogged; he is shipwrecked; he is betrayed; his enemies are trying to kill him. There is wave after wave, and yet–there he is still. ‘I have found a way to be completely poised under any and all circumstances,’ he said. All the waves of life could not break him. And he says it isn’t a natural talent of his–you and I can learn this.
That is the character of Christian peace. It is an inner calm and equilibrium but also a sense of God’s presence and an almost reason-transcending sense of his protection.
I suffer from insomnia off and on, so I recently read a short book on sleep when it was free on Kindle. Although I didn’t really learn anything new or solve my sleep problems, I did highlight a few lines:
Q Do all your mental abilities deteriorate when you’re sleep deprived?
A No. Research has suggested that basic arithmetic and maths isn’t really affected by lack of sleep and, in some cases, even gets better.
This is good news for me! (The book is written by a Brit, I think, which accounts for the “maths” instead of our American “math”.)
That said, women seem to need about 20 minutes sleep more than men. The experts say it’s because women use their brains in a more flexible way than men – which means their brains are working harder in the day and are therefore more tired at night.
I’m neither a man-hater nor a feminist, and I’m always skeptical of “experts.”
This, however, I believe:
‘Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds.’ JOJO JENSEN, author of Dirt Farmer Wisdom
With that loss of an hour this past weekend, I hope we’re not all tall two-year-olds this week!
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle.
God led the Israelites out of Egypt not by the easier, more obvious way, but through the wilderness. That’s because He knew them and their weaknesses and temptations. Just like He knows ours. That’s why He sometimes takes us through the wilderness instead of where we’d prefer to go.
He knows what’s best for us.
Glad to be in His hands,