Philippians 4:7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Earlier this week, I read the verse just preceding this, and really kind of skimmed over the completion of the sentence in verse seven. I liked how the Message paraphrased the first part, and it lumped it all together a bit, so I didn’t really focus on the peace portion. Today, it re-emphasized a topic I discussed last night at my weekly small group.
My home group has started a series on prayer and scripture. Last night, we were starting with scripture and it’s importance in our lives. Part of the conversation focused on thinking back to a time in our lives when God has poured out His love and peace upon us. What does that feel like, how do we react when faced with such love? The thing that instantly came to mind was that in the truly depressing, I-want-to-give-up, out of my control entirely times of my life, when I have prayed for God’s peace – once it’s been granted – there’s no need to try to explain. Normally, I like to have a reason for things. If I don’t understand WHY I should do something, what purpose it is serving or how it’s going to benefit either me or someone else, you probably aren’t going to get my on board. It’s different with God’s peace, because as it washes away the strain and anxiety of our troubles, I don’t understand it at all. And I’m ok with that.
It truly is a “surpassing all understanding” deal. In the times I’ve experienced the Lord’s peace, the problems haven’t gone away. The issues weren’t removed and so I had peace. It was a calming, soothing presence in the midst of the storm. While still being pummeled, I felt a quiet in my soul. Though I could not logically explain how, I knew everything was going to be just fine. There is a rest and contentment that comes with peace of heart. I can stop trying to fix it on my own. I need not articulate the action plan that will ultimately dispatch the dilemma. I just turn my mind and heart over to God – and relax in His care.
As Philippians talks about God’s peace guarding our hearts and minds, it gives me a picture of the guards at a palace. They stand, blocking the entrance to anything that might try and bombard their leader. Always at attention, prepared for any onslaught. Seeing troops guarding a gate is explanation on its own. I don’t have to tell you how they were trained, what kind of weapons they’re holding, or their oath of dedication to the country they serve. Bottom line, that place is protected. Allowing the peace of God to take up positions around our mind and heart gives us the same security. No trouble is too big, too unexpected or out of God’s ability to handle. So we can rest in His peace…no explanation needed for how He’s going ultimately work it out.