This is where I explain how living without “God in your life” actually leads to more peace of mind than its alternative. Buckle your seatbelts and spit out your chewing gum.
Believers insist that trusting in God brings one peace. I know because I used to be a believer.
That is, believers believe God is going to make a difference. If they pray enough, if they read the Bible enough, if they trust God enough, if they live more like Christ—either their circumstances will change or they will be empowered to bear up under the affliction/distress. Hope in God is always founded. Always. Amen.
Sounds good. It’s just not true.
Believers and unbelievers succumb to terrible diseases in identical proportions. Also, believers and unbelievers experience inexplicable healings—believers call them miracles—in exactly the same percentage, which is to say about one in every zillion tries.
In my experience, most believers and unbelievers live lives of quiet desperation. Believers get no bonus of contentment from their trust in God, like a Jonny Quest decoder ring tumbling out of the gumball machine of life.
In fact, I’d say that in the end, believers are trying to control—or at least influence—the outcomes of their lives by their trust in God. God will bless me if I trust Him enough. But instead of trusting God, they’re actually trying to manipulate God—to game the system.
And the result is a quiet desperation. Very few of us are able to live in such a way so as to enjoy true happiness or peace of mind at any length. The happiness we’re familiar with is transitory. It lasts for a short while and usually arises as a result of satisfying some desire.
That’s the thing about life. You never know what’s around the next corner—and you keep wanting things. Please, God, if you just do this for me I’ll be happy.
But God is not something that you can jimmy to serve your purposes in maelstrom of existence.
That unpredictable reality is God. God’s not going to protect you from himself.
God is the “fundamental, eternal, infinite substance of reality and the first cause of all things,” as Steven Nadler says. Just give in to reality. Commit to realistic living. It works.
Realizing that God is reality and that it can’t be controlled or cajoled leads to a certain equanimity. Life tastes different. One isn’t rattled by misfortune because one realizes it doesn’t mean anything. No one’s trying to teach us anything. One realizes there is a certain amount of luck to flourishing. Your garden party could be interrupted by a rain of frogs at any moment. If shit’s going to happen—and it’s only shit because it happens to me; my nemesis sees it as good fortune—it will happen. And it does.
If you really want peace, then surrender to the absolute unpredictability of Reality—God is reality—to the “uncontrollable flow of moments,” as Gene Marshall say. That’s trust without any strings. That’s real surrender, not something done for the benefit of your assemblies of God in-laws.
One doesn’t behave or believe in a certain way to gain anything.
One does it because it’s right.
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