Why do I find myself believing pain is more real than peace?
Why do I often feel that my strengths are artificial—illusion, deception—and my weaknesses authentic? On a good day, I am certain Christ is buoying me above the waves; on a bad day, I am certain He is beyond arm’s reach. Desolation penetrates me more deeply than does consolation. Objective truths—I am loved, my true self is truly good—suddenly seem to be subjective hogwash, the intoxicating smoke of a shaman’s pipe hovering over reality.
Pain is sharp, peace is soft. We feel the pebbles cutting into our feet more readily than we feel the gentle warmth spilling through the kitchen window. We notice the tornado boiling on the horizon swifter than we do the dappled lighting in the garden. Simply, it is easier to focus on evil than on good. And Satan twists this reality to his favor, distracting us from the peace Christ gives us by magnifying our pain with the lie that it is more real, more lasting, than peace.
What do I do? My heart has cried out these words many times. I think, like Peter struggling in the waves, I must remember that even if Christ is not presently holding my hand, He is indeed offering to do so. He is close enough to take hold of me if I desire. When in desolation, in the midst of a storm, I must consciously turn my senses to the Savior—to the gentle warmth, to the dappled lighting—and remember that consolation is no less real. Desolation does not last forever—in fact, simply choosing to focus on Christ, rather than on the raging sea, is often enough to alleviate my pain, to calm the wind, and restore peace.
Trust. When everything I believe to be true is suddenly in question, I must trust. Not in past consolation or future consolation, but in Christ Himself, He who is unchanging even when my life, my emotions, are unpredictable.
Jesus, I trust in you.
If I but learn to shout these words when my heart is crying out for aid, the lie of Satan may yet be drowned out.