“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known until God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me- practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:6-9
Since I was a child, I have heard the phrase, “Peace that passes all understanding” bandied about.
It was impossible to wrap my head around the idea. Ironically, I guess that is the point if it is going to “pass all understanding.”
Seriously though, as a child, my concerns were limited to whether Andy Fox was going to trade me his Bo Jackson 1990 Score Baseball/Football card or whether Angie Rogers was going to make eye contact with me at church. Peace was not something I even realized I needed.
I was a kid, what did I know.
This idea of a peace that passes all understanding was not a thing I could quantify or explain, however, it was something I could identify. I often saw it in the eyes of my mother. (Side note: MOMS ARE AWESOME.)
My mom was not a robot. My mom had legitimate reasons to experience fear, anxiety, worry, and doubt. But she also recognized these consuming emotions could act as footholds for Satan to grab hold. My mom realized the key to living and walking in a peace that passes understanding was contingent upon the previous verse. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known until God.” Mom knew the cure for anxiousness was adoration. The cure for neediness was supplication. The cure for ungratefulness was thanksgiving. She well understood how prayer hollows worry of its power.
The Bible does not teach us to ignore our problems or our pain, but it does demonstrate to us the importance of putting them in their proper place. If we endeavor to enjoy this perfect peace, we must reject the world’s view of contentment that is limited to success and prosperity and embrace the call of Christ to service and humility. Neither does it matter how deeply we look into ourselves because true peace will not come until we look to Christ.
This peace does not come when we hit a certain threshold of Bible chapters read or number of ministry hours in a given week. This peace comes because, as the final verse in the passage above says, “The God of peace will be with you.”
We are hidden in Christ.
God does not distribute to us doses of love or doses of peace. He is love. He is peace. This perfect peace is not something to be possessed, it is to be experienced. It is not a magic potion, it is the presence of God.
He gives us Himself.
So, I would say, be encouraged today. But I’d rather say be near God today. Abide in him. Dwell in His presence. Because when you log off of your computer, the realities of life will hit you full force: whiny kids, too many bills in the mail, traffic, sickness, etc. And when they do hit you, my prayer for you is that you are able to respond in such a way so that your child might see it in your eyes, and learn what the peace that passes all understanding really means.