Thursday, March 3, 2016

Didn't God Promise a Life of Ease?

I hear it all the time from Christians and non-Christians alike.  "Didn't God promise a life of ease?"  Actually, no, He didn't.  In fact, He promised quite the opposite--In the world ye shall have tribulation. (John 16:33)  The Bible assures us that there will be tough times, rough valleys and long days.  So, why do so many assume that God promised a life of ease?  I think that perhaps these well-meaning souls are confusing ease with peace, for while God didn't promise us the former, He certainly promised the latter.  In fact, if we go back to the beginning of John 16:33, we'll see, These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  And this is only one of the many passages where God promises us a peace that passes understanding.

Ease. Peace. What is the difference?  To determine that, let's look at one of my favorite books:  the dictionary.  On the surface, you'll notice that the two words seem to have VERY similar definitions.  Take a look:

Ease: (1) freedom from labor, pain, or physical annoyance; tranquil rest; comfort: to enjoy one's ease. (2) freedom from concern, anxiety, or solicitude; a quiet state of mind.

Peace: (1) freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, etc.; (2) tranquillity; serenity.

But, let's dig a little deeper, and let's also take into context the Biblical definition of the word "peace."

Ease can also be defined as (1) freedom from difficulty or great effort; (2) freedom from financial need; plenty.  Well, that certainly doesn't describe my life.  How about yours?  Nope, my life is hardly free from difficulty or financial need.  So, if God did, indeed, promise a life of ease, then it would appear He's breaking His promise, right?

Let's look at what the Bible dictionary has to say about peace in order to really differentiate between the two terms.  It says peace is "the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatever sort that is."  Are you starting to see the difference?

Ease means that I don't have any problems.  Peace means that I have them but don't fret because I'm resting securely in God.  Ease is fleeting, depending on our "earthly lot" while peace remains steady because it reminds us that whatever our lot in life, all has passed through God's hands.  Ease is a perfect life meagerly grasped in the hands of an imperfect being, but peace offers us an imperfect life held fast in the hands of a perfect God.  Which one sounds better to you?  The one that God actually promised, right?

I'll be the first to tell you that sometimes life is hard and seemingly unfair.  Valleys come and valleys go, but rest assured that through it all, God's peace is available to you as His child.  He longs for us to live in a state where our minds are free from anxiety--not because we don't have troubles but rather because we're trusting in Him to take care of them.  Are you trusting today?  Are you content with your lot in life?  If not, you're missing out on God's promise--not because He hasn't offered it but rather because you haven't received it.  What are you waiting for?  Claim your gift!

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