In the old days, thrill-seekers had to go skydiving, bungee jumping, or to Walmart on a Saturday for their adrenaline fix. No more. Now all we have to do is turn on the news if we want to test the upper limits of our nervous system.
I’m sure I don’t need to remind you what a spring and early summer we’ve had: economic and social chaos, a pandemic, swarms of locusts chomping their way through Africa and Asia, and a stock market that’s more volatile than a hormonal teen. And now, as the icing on an altogether unpleasant cake, murder hornets have officially arrived in the United States.
Maybe we need a big dose of Bob Ross.
If you don’t know, Bob Ross was an artist with an unusually soothing personality and big hair who hosted a television show called “The Joy of Painting” on public TV stations in the ’80s and ’90s. Ross’s program is apparently now enjoying a resurgence on streaming networks like Netflix and YouTube, which brings me to my own Bob Ross story.
I like Masterpiece shows on the Public Broadcasting System network, so I usually give an annual donation to help keep them coming. In return, they send me a thank-you gift, and this year I got three pairs of funky socks and a T-shirt, all with images of Bob Ross on them.
The first place I wore my Bob Ross socks was to a doctor’s appointment. Right off the bat, the young doctor asked, “Is that Bob Ross on your socks?”
“Wait, you know who Bob Ross is?” I replied.
“Oh yeah,” he said. “The only way we could get our baby to sleep was to turn on his painting show. He’s so calming.”
A few weeks later, I was wearing my Bob Ross T-shirt and another person said, “I love Bob Ross. He makes me feel so peaceful.”
These strange Bob Ross conversations have continued to happen when I’m wearing my socks or T-shirt, so I’m thinking if I could just bottle and sell Bob Ross’s calming juju, I might make a zillion bucks. Especially right now, when it seems our world is coming apart at the seams.
Chaos is certainly nothing new on our planet, but we’ve never been so relentlessly exposed to it through cable news and the internet. Since things may not calm down this side of heaven, we better learn to calm down in the midst of them, and I’m afraid watching Bob Ross paint might not be enough. Bob may be peaceful, but he’s not the Prince of Peace. That title belongs only to Jesus.
Jesus is the one who, in the midst of a raging storm at sea, simply said, “Peace, be still,” and the wind and waves obeyed. And He’s the one who was able to calmly walk right through the midst of a hostile crowd bent on killing Him. And guess what? Jesus promised we could experience that same kind of supernatural peace (John 14:27) if we believe and trust Him.
One of my favorite Bible verses is Romans 15:13, which says, “And now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Notice when and how peace comes? In believing.
Belief in all kinds of things can bring a bit of fleeting peace, but peace that endures comes only from believing in the character, power and promises of God. In times like these, we don’t need someone who can draw a storm; we need the only One who can still it.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3).