I recently had a dream that was short, but very vivid. In my dream I found myself entering heaven where, for the first time, I felt a total sense of love and peace. Then just as quickly as that reality hit me I was saddened by the memories of those earthly things which I had allowed to steal my focus from this sort of kingdom peace. No sooner had this realization hit me than I was awake.

Though just a dream, I had allowed this lingering feeling of sadness to steal my joy and peace. Not in the form of sadness but of awareness.

In the prayer Jesus taught us He said in part, “Let Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) Your kingdom come…If God’s kingdom is available to us now, then so is the reality of His love and His peace. So how do we miss this?

It is easy to allow the circumstances of the moment to dictate our realities and knock us completely out of phase. Life is good: we got a raise at work, our child graduated college with honors, we got a clean bill of health at the doctor, we just won an all inclusive vacation on the Wheel of Fortune, and on and on. When the good times roll how do we as Christians usually respond when someone asks how we are? “I’m blessed” – right?

But what about the times when our company is downsized, our child drops out of college, we hear we have a life altering health condition, or we cannot even solve the puzzles from the comfort of our living room? Are we not also blessed then? Though we are, it is easy to allow the bad things in life to make us doubt. We ask questions like: Why does God let bad things happen to good people? What have I done to deserve this? Does my life have any meaning? Am I just one big joke? And we allow our struggles knock us out of phase.

Scripture speaks to the reality of our human existence throughout the Bible, but two passages that clearly communicate this are;

The rain falls on the just and the unjust. – Matthew 5:45

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. – Job 1:21

Though it is easy to allow our current circumstances – good or bad – to steal our focus from our God-given purpose and the peace and love available to us in Him, the reality is that just as peace is not necessarily the absence of conflict, it is also not dictated by the circumstances that surround us. God’s kingdom and His ensuing peace are available to us now.

So how do we keep our focus in phase and our perspective in check? By practicing the presence of God’s peace. By learning to, as the old hymn goes, “Count Your Blessings.” And, like Job, maintaining our worshipper’s heart in the good and bad times. Sometimes we must look a little harder than others, but God’s blessings are there – in abundance. And, in the same way, we should not allow ourselves to suffer under the illusion that because everything seems to be going well, only then are we blessed.

As I continue to consider the implications of this dream in my life I am all the more convinced that to pray God’s kingdom down allows us to minimize the world’s distractions and maximize His peace in our lives.

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