Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:4-7 ESV
We all long for that calm confidence in our hearts. I have learned through many trials, that in order to find that peace, I need to believe that no matter what I am going through, God is in control and working all things for my good. Peace is easy to find when everything is going well, but becomes elusive when our circumstances get hard. We are promised in this passage that God’s peace is always available, and not just available, but He promises to guard our hearts and our minds from the anxious thoughts that can dominate our thinking. We have a part to play in finding that peace—it doesn’t just happen.
I think sometimes people think the kind of peace referred to in this passage is meant for other people, not for them. There are people who always seem to be trapped in difficult circumstances—there always seems to be something challenging going on in their lives. These people live the victim mentality, always complaining that others don’t have it as hard. They didn’t have loving parents, they were the victim of some tragedy, they live in a loveless marriage, they just can’t seem to catch a break or get ahead financially. They consider other people as strong or blessed, and they wallow in their own pit complaining they’re just not like that. The negativity spirals, and they struggle to see anything from a positive perspective. We have all been in that place at least momentarily, but there are people who choose to take up residence there.
This promise of peace is for everyone, not a select few who are blessed or strong. God wants us all to live in the freedom offered in this passage, but we have to grab a hold of the peace. He lays it all out for us, but it’s up to us to put it into action.
If we want that inexplicable peace—the kind you see wash over people facing incredibly difficult circumstances, people who should otherwise be at a complete loss for how to cope, the kind that speaks of a trust in God at work when the world screams otherwise, the kind that draws people to not only be thankful despite hardship, but prompts people to do the most beautifully kind and sacrificial acts for others in the middle of their storm, then you have to do the work, day in and day out. Only then will you find the peace that surpasses understanding—the peace that doesn’t make sense given the circumstances. My husband and I know that peace. We don’t have it all the time, but we do find it often enough to know my life has been blessed with His supernatural peace. We have faced incredibly difficult circumstances in our life together, and generally not just one at a time, but multiple trials at once—in those moments, we’ve been able to grab a hold of the most inexplicable calm assurance and confidence in the fact that God is at work. We know the only way to find it is to follow the instructions found in this passage—rejoice in the Lord always, be reasonable in all encounters, trust God is at work, don’t be anxious, but instead lay all requests before the Lord, and be thankful in all things.
When we choose to rejoice in God and all that He has done in our lives; when we choose to approach others with a gentle and a reasonable heart at all times, choosing not to complain or make it all about us; when we choose to trust that God is at work even when it doesn’t make sense; when we choose let our requests be made known to God in prayer with a heart that is thankful for everything God designs for us—the pleasures and the pain—that’s when we find the peace that will guard our minds and free us from anxiety in a way that defies mere rational explanation. It surpasses all understanding.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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