“Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One” (Philippians 4:6-7, The Voice).
I don’t know about you, but I have my moments of anxiety as well as anyone else. For me, anxiety tends to take me to a future of what ifs and what might happens, where I envision all sorts of scenarios.
I’ve noticed that my anxious thoughts take me to a future with no God in it. I find it’s just me having to solve all my own problems, and none of my scenarios play out very well. Most of what I dread and fear in the future never comes remotely close to happening, yet that never seems to stop the obsessing when anxiety strikes.
The secret is to take every moment of anxiety and turn it into an occasion for prayer. After all, prayer is really about reminding you and me who’s really in charge. When we give thanks for God’s mercies in the past, we find that we can hold fast to the same God in the future to be as faithful.
And that peace? It really does defy all human understanding. Once you’ve decided that you’re not the ruler of your own life and destiny, you let go trying to control every possible outcome and find that God is more than able to take your place. That’s very freeing.
I was reminded yesterday of the truth that when storms and troubles come, you don’t tell God how big your storm is, you tell your storm how big your God is.
I’ve prayed this prayer many times on many different occasions. Never once has God answered my prayer by changing my circumstances, i.e. making my life easier, taking away my difficulties, instantly transporting me to the other side of my trials. What He has done is reminded me ever so subtly that He will be with me as He always has during my dark road.
Peace isn’t always a feeling of contentment. Sometimes, the butterflies remain but so does the promise that God won’t forsake me. For me, a feeling of peace doesn’t always mean peace, nor does a lack of it indicate its absence. Try and work that one out and see if it makes sense.
After all, it is a peace that is beyond my utmost understanding. I don’t need a god who I can figure out and manage and understand. I need a God who is bigger than me, stronger than me, wiser than me. I need a God who is completely Other than me (not a bigger, stronger, wiser version of me).
My advice to you? Keep praying for that peace that passes all understanding and keep claiming it, whether you feel it or not. Keep trusting that the God of peace is walking with you through your dark road.
Sometimes the absence of peace means there is something in your life that needs to change. You’ll generally have an idea of what that something is and how to go about making the changes. You can’t have peace if you’re consistently making choices that go against God’s Word and refuse to submit to His will for your life.
Even then, peace comes with repentance. Peace comes to those whose hearts are broken, like King David’s, over their sin. Peace comes to those who admit once again their total and complete dependence on God.
That’s all for tonight. Come back for something completely different. Or maybe more of the same. You never can tell with me.