We’re all looking for heaven. The Walden of the afterlife. Narnia after the long winter. Although the viral pandemic displaced the serenity of Spring, stress is an epidemic that has been around for a long while. Bills, jobs, bullying, social unrest, politics, car repairs, college loans. Demands and struggle have spread us thin and worn us out. No matter where we live or how old we are, our spirits hear the original Eden whisper its rhapsodic song and urge us to long for its return.
Come, Lord Jesus.
Like Thoreau, whose lifestyle embraced the tranquility of Emerson’s woods, our souls have cried out for rest–a respite from the stresses of our world. Even today, as the pace of life is revving up again, we cry out. Pre-election tension, distant learning dynamics, unnatural social distancing, and an uncertain future keep our stress levels high. Too high.
I need rest for my soul.
In March, quarantine life forced us to withdraw from frenetic lifestyles. Some people dusted books off their shelves. Many made the most of summer vacation despite limited travel. But the stress didn’t necessarily decrease. The desire to escape the woes of the world greeted us every morning.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
The cares of this life do not end. Our flesh wants to escape by feeding itself. Feed this addiction, turn on the TV, see if anyone liked your social media post! But our spirits are whispering, “Return to your divine default. Rest in God.” The Spirit of the Lord echoes this saying, Be still and know that I am God.
When we consider that Jesus came to give us life and that more abundantly, we face the harsh reality that much of this “abundance” may be reserved for Heaven. Surely, Jesus appealed to us to keep our focus on things above despite the chaos of “the evil day” all around us. The current signs of sin, deteriorated school buildings, overpopulated prisons, the evidence of spiritual hosts of wickedness through mass shootings, and governmental corruption make it appropriate to want to find a Walden to escape to. But we must rest in our “now”. In fact, God tells us to embrace unspeakable joy and incomprehensible peace now. Not because of our dire circumstances and trials. But because we know He is Savior. The Prince of Peace.
Biblical shalom refers to an inward sense of completeness or wholeness. Although it can describe the absence of war, a majority of biblical references refer to an inner completeness and tranquility. http://firm.org.il/learn/the-meaning-of-shalom/
This is what we need: shalom
“The Bible teaches that our “best” doesn’t come in this earthly life, but to the degree we experience shalom in every part of our beings—body, soul, and spirit—the more
effectual and life-giving our time on earth will be.” Culture Changers, by Tina Webb