“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
A week of peace isn’t a bad thing to have. My hope and prayer is that as we have explored the idea of biblical peace this week you have been encouraged and even inspired to do the things necessary to experience more of it in your life. Last week ended on the high note of the video of Meredith Andrews’ wonderful version of Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus. This week, we’ll try that again. If you’ll suffer me a couple of comments on one of my favorite passages of Scripture, we’ll end this week with another song that I think ably captures our virtues of the week. Thanks for being with me this week.
As I said, this is one of my favorite passages of Scripture. And not just these two verses. What Paul writes just before in vv. 4-5 and just after in vv. 8-9 have the power to completely redefine the shape and scope of our lives if we’ll let them. The whole thing centers around experiencing this peace of God in a way that is everything we’ve been talking about its being this week.
It is disconnected from our circumstances, something that comes naturally when you get everything else right, an experience everyone can have, and one that is rooted deeply in our relationship with God in Christ.
What Paul says here is amazing. We are not to worry about anything. That’s not a suggestion. It’s a command. If you are a follower of Jesus, you are not to worry. Period. Just don’t do it. Don’t try to grab control of life that way. It never works out the way you think it will. Nothing good ever comes from worry.
Instead, we are to go to God in prayer. There is nothing off the table when it comes to what we can set before our heavenly Father when we talk with Him. He knows us more perfectly and intimately than anyone else. He made us. He knows what’s going on inside of us even better than we do. He understands why we do and think the way we do. He knows our needs even before we present them to Him. He doesn’t need us to say anything to Him. What He wants, though, is our heart. And this is why He calls and even commands us to come to Him. When worry or anxiety or fear or anything else that might threaten your peace begins to grow in your heart, take it straight to Him and nowhere else.
But, don’t just take it to Him. Take it to Him with thanksgiving in your heart. Go with gratitude. That will position you to receive from Him what He longs to give you.
And when you do…peace. Peace that surpasses all understanding. I like the way the New Living Translation puts it: “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.” This sense of calm and wholeness, of tranquility and completeness that comes over your heart and mind will completely baffle those who are on the outside looking in. It may not even make sense to you as you experience it. But there it will be. There you will be, resting easy in the arms of your Savior who loves you and will never leave you nor forsake you. This will be a peace that comes and stays no matter what your situation says you should be feeling. That’s the peace of God’s kingdom. It’s the peace the Christ-child came bringing with Him. And it is the peace that can be yours if you will entrust yourself fully to Him.
Here, then, is a song that I think captures the very heart of this idea. It’s from a man who experienced much hardship and turmoil in his own life including the loss of his fortune and his children in a few short years. He lived the travails of Job himself. And yet, these words form his defiant proclamation. No matter what else happens around me, when I am in Christ, it is well with my soul. This version comes from BYU’s excellent a cappella group, Vocal Point. May it be a blessing to you as you look ever toward the coming of the One who makes this possible.