Panic, Peace, and Paradise Found

by Patti Richter

Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven. 2 Corinthians 5:1 NIV

My heart beats faster as Cinderella realizes her fairy-tale evening is over. I share her panic as she runs down the castle steps while the clock strikes midnight.

I recall two long-ago episodes of my own real panic, which both involved the same child. When my three-year-old son suddenly left my side in a large department store, I endured some dreadful minutes before finding that he had made his way back to the paint department and found his father. Then, at age five, he climbed a cliff that bordered a new friend’s backyard; the two of them became lost in Albuquerque’s high desert mesa. Along with the other boy’s mother, who had the local police searching, I was0 frantic until the boys found their way out to the main road two hours later.

We typically panic when the wheel of life spins out of control, especially when our plans for the future—or today, or the next hour—are endangered. Our personal world can be altered in a moment, like those victims whose lives are shattered by events that appear in the daily news. The distressing scenes we see confirm the world’s lack of control over… the world.

My husband and I once endured a turbulent flight in a small commuter plane. The storm-tossed aircraft jerked up, down, and sideways—like a vintage amusement park ride. All the passengers remained silent during the worst of it, but I couldn’t help turning to Jim with a question: “In case we only have a minute to live, is there anything you’d like to tell me?” With perhaps a two-second lapse, my calm husband replied, “See you in a few minutes.”

Faith in Christ results in such assurance to believers. Our natural fear at the possibility of impending death is alleviated by the hope of eternal life.

Dread surely overtook the two thieves who hung on a cross next to Jesus. Dying beside the man believed by many to be the Son of God did not immediately console either of them. One thief mocked Jesus, saying, “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” (Luke 23:39 NIV). But the other one, recognizing his only hope, admitted his sinful condition and said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom (v. 42). While the first man’s words yielded no response from the Lord, the repentant man received the Savior’s comforting promise, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (v. 43).

When the clock strikes midnight—as it will for each of us—the good news we’ve placed our hope in will overcome any distressing news. God’s promises through Christ will turn our panic to peace.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Patti Richter lives in north Georgia with her husband, Jim. She is a freelance journalist and long-time faith columnist at with more than four hundred published articles.

Patti is the co-author of the award-winning Signs of His Presence—Experiencing God’s Comfort in Times of Suffering. It is the story of Luann Mire, whose godly husband was blindsided by an indictment due to a former employer’s tax fraud. The resulting prison sentence and restitution took the once joyful couple into a long season of suffering as they fought judicial tyranny. Helpless to change her situation, Luann endured a painful examination of her life and found God faithful to His promises.

Join the conversation: What has made you panic in the past?


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