Philippians 4:7 – And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
We are enamored with the idea of peace. We sing about it. We wish it on others. We use the word as a closing sentiment in our emails and letters. We use phrases about peace in prayers and blessings. So blessed is this “peace” we talk about that Jesus is heralded as its Prince.
In the 4th chapter of Philippians, the apostle Paul writes about “the peace of God which transcends all understanding…”
And yet…we’re blogging about it. Hmmm…
I think (remember the “transcends understanding” part) we make a mistake when we sit by idly and wait for peace to arrive in our lives. I don’t think the intent is to wait around saying, “OK God…hit me with some of that peace of yours!” We err when we wait for it to simply wash over us.
Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is always compelling us to act. He tells us to go, to come, to follow, to get up, to go tell, to be quiet, to take care, to pray or to think. Jesus compels us to do. To seek. To go get. To yield.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to separate Paul’s promise of the Peace of God, centered squarely in Jesus, to guard our hearts and minds from his continuing exhortation to think on…to seek…to put into practice those things which are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. Perhaps it is then the Peace of God is with us.
Eugene Peterson, in The Message translation of the scripture, says it this way,
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” ~Philippians 4:6-9
A few years ago, my family vacationed on the coast. I was on the beach with Katie…not much more than a toddler at the time. As we played in the surf, she grew braver and braver and began to venture further and further out into the water. The current was fairly strong and the tide was going out. All at once, she realized that her little feet could no longer feel the bottom. The water was over her head. Her eyes grew wide with fear and panic. She called out to me, “Daddy! Daddy!” I moved over to her…the water was not over my head. Neither the current nor the tide was too strong for me. She flung her arms around my neck. I could feel her little body tremble. In a while, however, her fear subsided and the panic left her.
What Katie didn’t know, was that her circumstances had not changed. I did not alter the depth of the ocean. The water was still over her head. I did not weaken the current or reverse the tide. The only difference was that she had my neck to throw her arms around. She flung. Everything became ok.
In the same way, we find peace…we get peace…beyond our wildest dreams…when in the midst of our fear and anxiety and uncertainty and sadness we cry out, “Daddy…Daddy!” Or more accurately stated when we cry out “Lord…Lord!” and then go, come, follow, get up, go tell, be quiet, take care, pray, think. Seek. Go get. Yield.
“Lord! Lord! Lend me your neck.” Amen.
Johns Creek Baptist Church
Thank you, David, for reminding me of the actions that lead me to the peace that I always long for!