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About two years ago this month, I penned a prayer in a journal I was keeping at the time. As I slowly skimmed over the pages a few days ago, I came across the prayer.

I think it’s strangely insightful. In a way that I certainly didn’t realize when I wrote it. The difference between spiritual numbness and spiritual peace are subtle. It is how unbelievers find contentment, even without God, and how believers stay their sanctification.

March 18th, 2008:

Jesus, help me not to confuse numbness with peace. For whatever reason, I feel nothing right now and I am tempted to call it peace. Whatever it is, will you spread you joy and goodness over it—for your glory?

Most of the time, peace comes from God after pain, while numbness comes from elsewhere before it. It’s like at the dentist when you go to have a cavity filled. They numb your whole mouth. If you were like me when I was younger, I would always irritate my mouth my biting the inside of my cheeks and tongue—it was a strange sensation. But inevitably, the numbness would wear off and my mouth would hurt really bad.

But the same analogy could be used for peace. A cavity irritates our mouth and causes pain, until we see a dentist who actually solves the problem leading to a legitimate ‘peace’. Not numbness, rather a real lack of pain.

As believers we must be aware when we’ve simply become numb. We cannot call it peace. It’s not peace. If we are numb, we are no doubt doing things that will hurt us later. Instead, we have to seek God to give us actual peace. And, it will likely not come before having to deal with some pain.