Vol.X No.III Pg.8
May 1973

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

At this writing Vivian and I are living in a guest house on Morro Bay: lulled to sleep each night by the roar of the mighty Pacific, and fascinated each day by the coming and going of its great tides. A dear friend opened this retreat to us— a pleasant and relaxing home while I am in Cayucos, Calif. for a meeting.

While browsing through our hostess guest book, I was struck by the comment of a previous guest who had expressed thanks for the opportunity to escape reality. This is often the language of despondency, hopelessness and despair. It may indicate a desire to cop out on life, but a moments reflection will show that the guest had done no such thing. The sand and the crabs, the rocks and surf were no less realities than some former busy life— but they had offered a welcomed change. One reality had been replaced by other realities.

Peace, rest, and contentment are not commodities which may of themselves be given or bartered. We joy, or pain as we provide circumstances which cause these results. We bring most of our restlessness and discontent upon ourselves, with ambitious plans born of selfishness and pride. We place ourselves in circumstances and situations which we think will attain our goals— and we suffer the realities of our own making. Some blame God for their plight, and forget that God made other realities as well (sand and surf, for example) by which, properly used, we may be made calm and rejuvenated.

It is significant that Jesus offers rest to those who will learn from Him the means (yoke) of burden: bearing, viz., a meek and lowly spirit. (Matt. 11:28-30) Jesus gives rest by attacking the causes of unrest. A meek spirit is that by which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without dispute or resisting. It is equanimity of spirit that is neither elated nor cast down, simply because it is not occupied with self at all. (Vine)

There is no escape from reality; the authority of truth forbids this. But we can replace the reality of our humdrum existence with purposeful living; and the reality of a sinful life and its consequences, with the reality of forgiveness in Christ, and the life He would have us live, which produces peace, here and hereafter. God is no less real for being Spirit.