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“May the Lord of “peace” himself give you peace always in every way.  The Lord be with all of you” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 CSB

I love what my Bible dictionary says about the original word “peace”, “the opposite of war and dissension.”  This particular use of it in this verse is even better; “gospel of peace” meaning “gospel of bliss, meaning it leads to bliss”.  How about that for peace? God wants to give you bliss in your life, in every way.

But what is bliss?  What would that look like for you?  It’s different for every person. I thought this the other day as I was waiting for my students to show up for a private tennis lesson.  It’s a brother and sister who I’ve been teaching for the past year. On this particular afternoon it was hot, sun was beating down and it was obvious they weren’t thrilled about having to hit a tennis ball.  As I watched their grumpy faces approach the court, I realized they had probably been fighting with Mom the whole way to the courts. Meanwhile, I’d been there for 15 minutes hoping they didn’t show up because it was so hot and I was tired.  None of us wanted to be on the court because of the heat. None of us were feeling blissful.

But the bliss was in the relationship.

I love these kids.  I admire their Mom that week after week she battles their complaints and gets them to the court.  I admire these kids because they don’t ever complain verbally, even though I can see on their faces they aren’t thrilled.  I realized as I waited for them yesterday, I was grateful I had this on my calendar, otherwise I would have been sitting studying, not getting any activity.  That’s not healthy either. I realized, it’s why we need people in our lives. It gets us out of ourselves, it helps us focus on others. I realized quickly, the three of us needed to make the best of this situation and have some fun.  I quickly changed my strategy and turned it into a day of games. We found bliss on a hot tennis court, with the sun beating down on us, a place none of us wanted to be at that moment, we found bliss.

Isn’t that what bliss is?  Making the most of a bad situation.  Finding the good in it and focusing on that instead of the bad.  Isn’t peace trusting that no matter how hot the sun is, God is with you?  He’s in the midst of the battle (Isaiah 41:10). He’s fighting for you, not against you (Romans 8:31 NIV).  His love endures forever (1 Chronicles 16:3 NIV).

I know there are very dark days. I know we all have dark nights of the soul that seem impossible.  I know that a hot tennis court seems like a vacation from the heat in your life right now. But I also know this, our God is bigger, our God is brighter.  Our God is here to bring the light, the light of the Son into every dark crevice on earth. He’s got the power, He’s got the peace, He’s got the bliss!

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