Lately it seems that practically everyone I know is experiencing exorbitant amounts of excrement hitting the fan. Everything from broken bones, kitchen fires, bursting pipes, and ruined floors to job loss, divorce, cancer, and the death of a loved one. Some days I just ache for peace.
What do you do when the proverbial stuff hits the fan? Where do you turn for solace, peace, hope, etc.? I know what I think the answer should be (and what you may be expecting me to say). God. Jesus. The Bible. Pray and God will help you. Many well-meaning people have said things like that for longer than I’ve been alive. The problem is that unless you are truly in a deep, personal, intimate relationship with God, you probably aren’t likely to feel much comfort from Him – His Spirit or His Word – in times of trial. If the daily pursuit of knowing God through prayer, fellowship, and His Word isn’t already part of your life, the idea of turning to any of these “spiritual disciplines” will probably make you want to vomit. You might get some help from the Church, though (sadly) you probably need to be careful who you ask for help.
If your life is really in the toilet, you may turn to the only friend you think you have to try to drown your sorrows. This ‘friend’ has many names – booze, pills, porn, junk food, basically whatever escape route provides the path of least resistance away from the pain. The problem with all of these is that they don’t actually solve the problem. Now, the problem might be beyond solving. You may be dealing with circumstances completely beyond your control. And honestly, I think we all need a break sometimes. A respite or retreat from the stress of life is a good thing. Some means of respite are obviously better than others. Personally, I must confess that a pint of Graeter’s Black Raspberry Chip ice cream and my dvd of “The Bourne Identity” generally top the list of escape routes for me.
More and more though, I find myself turning to one or two good friends for wisdom and encouragement when times are tough. And for true rest and rejuvenation, for real ministry to my soul, I need to go off by myself and simply ask God to help me. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or “religious”, just real. Then I simply listen, walk, read, write, whatever. Mostly, I just enjoy the solitude.
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” – Luke 5:16
Wouldn’t you love to know what those prayers were like? I would. I bet they weren’t very formal. Probably more like talking to a best friend or like talking to your dad, but without all the crap that exists between us and our dads. I’d love to pray like that. I need that. When it hits the fan, I need a good friend that’s been there all along.
What is your favorite escape route?
More importantly, how do you get rest for your soul?