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Having Peace

- With Monsters Under The Bed

October 5, 2013

The scene: A father and his daughter in her dorm room.
The setup: He’s about to leave - and she’s about to spend her first night in the dorm - and not at home.
Her request - can he “do it one more time?”

This is a scene from Castle - the TV series.  
The daughter is Alexis.
The father is Rick Castle - author of 26 best selling books.
Alexis is asking him to do something he always did when she was a kid -
look under her bed for monsters.
He gets down on his hands and knees -
looks under the bed -
and tells her -
there’s no monsters.

Scenes like this are why I like the show.  Once you get past the murder at the beginning, the show has what looks to be a bunch of genuine people - not really stupid like so many shows - not overly messed up like some shows - just people that care about each other.

With some reality thrown in.
Like when Alexis asks for Castle to look under the bed one more time.
She knows she’s growing up -
knows this isn’t going to happen again -
knows it’s not real -
but she wants this one last time to pretend her father can always keep her safe.

As a kid - something like this brings peace -
knowing your father is checking under the bed for monsters.

But what about as adults?
We learn that the monsters aren’t under the bed.
We learn that our fathers can’t keep the monsters away from us.

So - what are we supposed to do?

Well - there’s always the “escape” path.
I mean “escape” as in fantasy type escape -
pretend we’re in a world that doesn’t have monsters -
like living life in a TV type world that isn’t real -
or in an Internet life that isn’t real -
or in video games that aren’t real -
or maybe even in a drugged state that’s very real - but we can’t tell reality from fantasy.

There’s all sorts of choices here -
but none of them really give peace.
At best - it’s an illusion of peace that will eventually be shattered.

One problem with that approach is that unlike what we thought when we were kids -
just because we can’t see someone - like because we’re hiding behind the couch or have our eyes closed - doesn’t mean they can’t see us.
Monsters / demons / devils / evil are out there - and they are looking - and they will find us.

Another approach to finding “peace” would be to find what some call “inner peace”.
Empty your mind is what they say -
keep all thoughts out -
and then you have nothing to worry about -
nothing to be afraid of -
and you will find peace.

OK - this has the same problem as the one above -
except that it’s maybe worse than escaping into fantasyland.

This one is a conscious effort not to hide -
but to pretend that we have the power within ourselves to gain peace in the midst of the monsters.
I say this one’s worse because of what’s actually going on here.

In the first - it’s an escape into some other world -
one where we’re maybe looking for someone / something else to get safety and peace.

In the second - it’s an escape into ourselves -
where we think we can get the peace and safety from within ourselves.
It’s an attempt to empty the mind of everything -
an attempt to not look for anything -
and an attempt to pretend that we can’t be found.

The problem is -
the mind won’t be empty.
God wants to be in our minds.
So does Satan.

If we don’t want Him - eventually God will leave us alone.
He’s waiting and willing to welcome us back if we want -
but He has given us the free will to reject Him.
So we could very well end up with a mind that is without God.
If a place without God sounds familiar - it’s because that’s a description of Hell.
Emptying our minds - that’s a path to someplace we really don’t want to go -
literally having a Hell on earth scenario going on in our supposedly empty minds.

Satan attacks us enough when God is present.
Imagine what it would be like when God isn’t present!
It’s open season on our minds - and our souls.
And we will lose.

So - how do we know that God’s waiting for us?
Actually - He’s even searching for us when we’re lost -
as we see in Luke 15:1-10 -

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

Lk 15:1 Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him.  2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Lk 15:3 Then Jesus told them this parable:  4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?  5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders  6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’  7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

The Parable of the Lost Coin

Lk 15:8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?  9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’  10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

These parables show that -
we can get lost -
God is looking for us -
we will be welcomed back -
the angels in Heaven rejoice when we turn back to God.

And what about Satan - what does he want?
We see that in Luke 22:31 - where Jesus is talking to Simon (Peter) -

Lk 22:31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.  32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

So Satan’s looking for us -
but not for any good reason.
We see that even Peter - one of the disciples - needs Jesus to pray for him.
What does that mean for us - after we reject God and retreat into our own “inner peace”?
Who’s going to pray for us?
Sounds like we lose again.

There’s also the path of worrying about the monsters all the time -
being in a constant state of fear and worry.
After all - just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t really out to get you.

But think about what that leads to.
Again - God is pushed out of the picture -
because our minds are so full of worry and fear that there’s no room for Him.
Satan however - he’s in there big time -
because all that worry and fear is from him!
He’s busy sifting us like wheat -
and we’re so busy worrying about being sifted that we don’t even realize it’s really happening!

What does Jesus say about all this worry?
We see that in Matthew 6:25-34 -

Do Not Worry

Mt 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?

Mt 6:28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

No question - easier said than done.
At least it’s easier said than done if we rely on ourselves.

Remember when Jesus said -

it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God

People tend to remember that part - but not what came next.

Here’s the whole statement - in context - from Matthew 19:16-30 -

The Rich Young Man

Mt 19:16 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life ?”

Mt 19:17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”

Mt 19:18 “Which ones?” the man inquired.

Jesus replied, “ ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony,  19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’’”

Mt 19:20All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

Mt 19:21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Mt 19:22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Mt 19:23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Mt 19:25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

Mt 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Mt 19:27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”

Mt 19:28 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.  30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

As Jesus says -

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

But then He also says -

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Yes -
with man - with us - all sorts of things are impossible.
But -
with God - everything is possible.
Like a camel going through the eye of a needle.
Like protecting us from the devil - from evil - from demons -
even from monsters - under the bed or any place else.

So - where does that leave us?

Some of us - like Alexis - had fathers - like Rick Castle - that would protect us from monsters when we were kids -
and some of us didn’t.

At some point - even those with the father who did protect them from monsters under the bed come to realize that’s not the way it really is.  Alexis came to that point in this episode.

What happens next -
that depends on us.

Each one of us can choose from among the choices I gave above -
or countless others.
Each one of us has been given the free will to make that choice -
and that free will comes from God.
He’s one of the choices -
but even though He could -
He won’t force us to choose Him -
because where’s the love in that?  Love doesn’t force love in return.

The reality is though -
whether we make that choice or not -
each one of us does have a Father who wants to and who really can save us from those monsters.

Maybe not save us the way we want -
maybe not protect us from everything in this world -
but who wants to - and can - protect our souls for eternity.
The reality is - we are all going to die - in this world.
The monsters aren’t out to kill us here - that’s going to happen anyway.
No - the monsters want us for eternity -
they want our souls forever.

Those are the real monsters -
Satan and his minions.

And the real Father who can and will protect us -
that would be God.

That leaves us with the question of peace -
where does that peace come in?

It sounds so easy -
just give everything to God.
How can that be?

Well - there is a bit more to it.

You see - it starts with His love.
He created us -
He loves us -
and He wants us to return that love.

It’s rather hard to understand -
but here’s a few verses from 1 John 4:7 that talk about God’s love and ours:

1Jn 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

1Jn 4:13 We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.  14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.  16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.  17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.  18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

1Jn 4:19 We love because he first loved us.  20 If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Note this one thing -

1Jn 4:19 We love because he first loved us.

That’s our starting point for attaining God’s peace.

  1. God loves us
  2. In return, we love Him.
  3. With that love - His and ours - we can grow to the point where we begin to trust Him - that we begin to believe that he wants to / can / will protect us from the monsters.
  4. With that love and trust - we can begin to give things over to Him - whatever that means.

I saw a sign one time that said -

Good morning.  

This is God.

I’m going to take care of everything for you today.

I won’t be needing your help.

Have a nice day.

That sign begins to say what it means to turn things over to God.

It doesn’t mean turn things over to Him -
and then keep worrying about it.
He may want is to take some part in the resolution -
I won’t be needing your help doesn’t mean we sit back and watch -
but it does mean that we do not to worry about it.
If we keep worrying -
then we have to wonder - why?
Is it that we doubt He really want to help us?
Is it that we don’t think He’s really capable - even though we believe He wants to help?

If we can’t turn things over and trust that He’ll take care of things -
I believe we need to look into the reasons.
I also believe that’s going to happen a lot -
where we have trouble turning things over and then still worrying about it.

Hopefully it gets easier -
there’s less worry as our love and trust of God grow -
the things we turn over to Him get bigger and seem more threatening to us -
and then our trust and love grow even more -
as we see more of just how great His love is for us.

And then -
if we stick with God long enough -
we can begin to approach what Jesus talked about with the Disciples in John 14:23-31 -

Jn 14:23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.  24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

Jn 14:25 “All this I have spoken while still with you.  26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  27 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.

Jn 14:28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.  29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.  30 I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me,  31 but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

“Come now; let us leave.

27 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.

And there it is.

The fact that Jesus was here on earth shows God’s love.

He talks about us loving Him.

He tells us the monster (the prince of the world - Satan) is coming.

He tells us that the monster has no power over Him -
showing His ability to protect us from the monster.

He tells us that He is going to prepare a place for us - if we love Him and follow the Father’s commands -
showing His desire to protect us from the monster.

And He tells us that if we do these things -
He will give us - here on earth -
His peace.
Not peace the way the world gives -
But His peace - while we are on earth.

27 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.

This is not a one way thing.

It’s certainly not just us loving God.

It’s God loving us - and He wants us to love Him in return.

And when we do love Him in return -
He will also accept our worries -
our fears and our monsters -

And then -
if we give Him all our troubles -
let Him take care of our monsters -
and if we don’t worry about those things -
we can begin to accept the Peace that Jesus wants to leave with us.

Alexis had the right idea when she was a kid -
she trusted her father - Rick Castle - to protect her from the monsters.

When we grow up - the concept doesn’t change much -
we trust our Father - God - to protect us from the monsters.

Who’s protecting you from monsters?

Whose peace do you have?