Dear Friend: "There's just one problem, though."
Unthinking Me: "Oh? What's that?"
Dear Friend, beginning to chuckle: "When you pray for something like understanding peace, you paint a target on your back." Chuckles become full-blown, rueful laughter.
Unthinking Me: ....."Oh man....I'm an idiot."
We both laugh. And cackle. And scenarios of how I'll learn peace fly. Causing more laughter.
Though it may sound as though we were being irreverent, we really weren't. Ours was the shared laughter of people who've been down these paths before, of those who have suffered, endured by God's grace, and come to the realization that very little about life this side of eternity is without cost.
A day later, I was on Skype with a potential agenting client, who is also becoming a friend. A young man who has lived an absolutely astounding life so far. And whom God is using in amazing ways to bless others. We got on the topic of peace, and his reaction when I told him what I was doing?
"Oh man. You're in for it now."
Cue almost identical conversation--and shared laughter--as with my friend the day before. Laughter that is still there for me, making me smile even as I'm typing. Because they're right.
Real peace, soul-deep peace...peace that carries you through storms and uncertainty...peace that wrestles fears to the ground...peace based in a sure knowledge of the One who gives it...the "yea-though-He-slay-me-I-will-follow-Him" kind of peace...
Comes at a cost.
No, it's not that God punishes us when we ask for something like this. It's simply that you cannot know or understand such peace without it--and you--being tested. And tested. And tried. And then tested again.
I'm an idiot.
But you know what? That's okay. Because I really want to know. I want to know what it is to be at peace, to rest in the Father, no matter what comes my way. Yes, even as I type that I'm cringing. But fear doesn't change truth. I want to know God's peace. Even if it costs me.
And isn't that what surrendering ourselves to Him is all about? We let go of our illusion of control (because, trust me, we are NEVER really in control), of our fears and uncertainties, stretch out our warms, and fall into the river of His perfect will. We ride the rapids with Him at our side. Yes, even rapids like this:
And we'll do it in safety. With a Holy God telling us what to do, how to survive. And one day, one glorious day, we realize we're no long afraid. In fact, riding the rapids has become more adventure than peril. And living in His peace is more nature than struggle.
I long for that day.
No matter the cost to get there.