There are three kinds of tranquility:
- The kind we imagine when life is anything but tranquil,
- The kind we enjoy when living is easy, and
- The real thing, a tranquility based in the facts of faith.
God gave each of us a powerful imagination.
As children we commute from the real world of grownups and ordinary things to the world created by our imagination with its surprising shapes, colors, characters and happenings seen only through our childish eyes. Grumpy adults call it day-dreaming and continually require us to awaken and come back to the world of their reality.
Why are we grumpy?
Life—reality—called us one too many times and we never found our way back to the tranquility of our day-dreams. Our imaginations were forced to live on in symbols in our dreams, dancing with our fears or celebrating our hopes, but forgotten when the alarm clock sounds.
Sometimes stories, in print or on the screen, beckon to our long-neglected imaginations to live vicariously with
- heroes and anti-heroes,
- maidens in distress and strong women making it big in a man’s world,
- animals so familiar in their four-legged humanity that we understand them perfectly, or
- even monsters and villains we love to hate as they trample the cities of our imaginary worlds or threaten to topple the fail-safe structures of our imaginary civilizations.
But none of the tranquility of escapism is really ours. Soon the book is closed, or the credits roll and it is back to real life and its troubles still there waiting for our return, problems still unsolved, dilemmas still undecided, pain never soothed, bills unpaid, and conflicts still raging.
We long for more than this.
In quite moments before sleep overtakes us, we think of tranquil places we have known, images of home, of yesteryear, of childhood or school days when life was simple and fun. Those memories lull us to sleep where dreams deal with our fears in more fantastical ways. It is strange that memories of peace give way so readily to frightful dreams, but this is the fleeting, shadowy world of tranquility as a sleepy time exercise.
The Real Thing
There are days when real tranquility is our lot for a day. No conflicts threaten the peace we feel. Bills are paid. Pain is gone. Work is going along nicely, thank you, and the ones we love appear to love us right back. We want to memorize moments like these so we can hold them in our minds forever and recall them when we need them.
There is a tranquility that does not spring from either the circumstances of life or our imagination; there is a real tranquility of the spirit. This tranquility speaks from the deepest part of us regardless of what our list of “things to do today” may hold—disasters, dreams, or delightful prospects.
This tranquility is based on the facts of our faith in God.
- God loves us just as we are.
- God has redeemed us as He found us and is transforming us into His likeness.
- God has hemmed us in behind and before and has laid His hand on us.
- No weapon formed against us shall prosper.
- He knows the future and is already there.
- God is One who keeps His covenant promises.
Let the seasons of life change the color of the landscape before us. Let the leaves bud, wave green in the summer wind, dry and die in autumn, and huddle to the ground in winter. We are blessed evergreen trees flourishing throughout the years of our lives. This reality is our tranquility, safe from storm, stealth, and savagery, because its source is the unchanging, unassailable character of God.
John 14:27 NIV
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Matthew 7:24-25 NIV
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
Isaiah 26:3-4 AMP
You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages].
Colossians 3:15 NIV
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Words: W.D. Cornell; Music: W.G. Cooper
1. Far away in the depths of my spirit tonight
Rolls a melody sweeter than psalm;
In celestial-like strains it unceasingly falls
O’er my soul like an infinite calm.
Peace! Peace! Wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above;
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray,
In fathomless billows of love.
3. I am resting tonight in this wonderful peace,
Resting sweetly in Jesus’ control;
For I’m kept from all danger by night and by day,
And His glory is flooding my soul.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved