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Rest in Peace! All my life I haven’t liked that phrase as describing my eternity. Plucking a harp on a cloud or resting on a cloudy couch is what I envision it means. But as I grow older I have realized that the peace of God means something much different. Dare I say more different than I can even imagine. But I sure can look forward to it!
Paul Claudel (famous playright) says this: Peace such as God gives is not merely a negative quality, an absence of pain, of difficulty, struggle, regret and longing, although by the radical disappearance of all that, we acquire a new feeling of ease, of enlargement and of liberty. But I mean that the peace of God in us infuses something new and positive…”
I realized that the absence of pain and difficulty is in itself something to be longing for – but more importantly the cessation of evil in my thoughts, words and deeds. O happy thought to be free of evil! O happy thought to be free of the struggle against all that separates me from pleasing Him! And when that occurs, I wish before I die but probably after – as Paul C points out – it frees me to new liberty. Rest in Peace means absolute freedom to revel in God’s grace. To enjoy his complete presence not veiled by my fallen humanity. This is what He offers us! This is beyond comprehension.
And as Paul C points out too: “Peace, therefore is founded on a rooted humility, on a profound abstention not from cooperation, but concurrence. The soul, with a shudder of joy, takes cognizance of that blissful nothingness which forbids her to see any more in herself and all things aught but the work of her Creator”
Rest in Peace! The peace Jesus gave to his disciples in the upper room. I am there with them constantly, locked in my lonely struggle, fearful of the very God who I should run too. Yet in His mercy, He walks through the barred door and breathes His love into me. He looks on me and my battle with the evil within and gives me hope and fortitude for victory. Jesus reminds me it isn’t about finding that absolute peace here, in that way. My eternity with God must wait. My RIP will come all in good time. And as long as He has something for me to do – someone for me to bring along with me – I can shoulder on!