Dancing With the Ayatollah and Other Bad Ideas—How to Find Peace in Troubled Times

Traveler’s Tip #335
God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.
C. S. Lewis
Do you want a peace? Here’s a short list of things that will NOT bring peace into your life:
  • Hand feeding white sharks pieces of meat.
  • Deciding to try it with your teeth.
  • Inviting the Ayatollah to sit down and have a beer with you (Sorry Mr. Kerry).
  • Passing out COEXIST bumper stickers on a Ramallah street corner (my apologies to the good people of Portland).
  • Babysitting your son’s new puppy while he’s in Hawaii on his honeymoon (come home soon son).
I’m a dreamer. I’ve always had the sneaking suspicion the grass is a little bit greener on the other side. I can’t shake it. I’ve also never had a problem hopping fences. Even wasted some time kicking them down.
That’s before I realized all that green grass just meant more to mow.
I’ve pursued a lot of pastures. I’ve had a million plans to bring peace and fulfillment to my life. Falling in love, having kids, getting a record deal, getting out of a record deal, seeing the world, writing a book, selling a gazillion books, having thousands—no, millions—of people read my blog…  Oh brother.
            “What are you doing crawling around down there?” Jesus asks.
            “Looking for something.”
            “Well, you’ve pushed a lot of diamonds out of the way to pick up a few rocks.”
            “Story of my life.”
            “Didn’t I tell you? That in this world you’ll have tribulation?”
            “Yeah. I hate that part.”
            “What are you looking for?”
            “Peace, I think.”
            “Any luck?”
            “It’s right around the corner, mister.”
            “You have me. So you have peace.”
            “What about the bills?”
            “Do I look like I’m short of cash?”
            “No, but…”
Peace, right around the corner. Elusive as a pretty girl’s smile. I’ll have it when… (Fill in your own blank here—you know what it is).
But everyday I get older. A little more grey. A little more weary of the chase. Breathing hard from the storm I drop into the shadow and the shelter of my friend Jesus…again. I lean against his legs. He puts a scarred hand on my head. He doesn’t have to say anything—we both know.
That’s one of the things about God—He never rubs it in.
            “I love you,” Jesus says.
And peace floods. Every time. Right through my stubborn will and thick head. Beyond anything I can understand or hope for. Beyond the trials, beyond the struggles and the plans. Beyond my dreams.
Peace floods.
            “Don’t run off again,” he says.
            “I won’t.”
            “You will.”
            “I won’t”
            “When you do, I’ll be here.”
And I remember for the thousandth time—peace is not the absence of conflict or problems or the successful realization of my tin-can plans. Peace isn’t money, power, or influence. Peace isn’t even winning the world for Christ.
Peace is the simple presence of my Jesus.
I won’t…
Fair winds,

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