LATELY I have been hearing a lot about how tumultuous this year has been, and how people are not dealing with life in general.
I was examining my year and started to realise that in a lot of ways it hasn’t been good for me either.
I am not sure why this year is different than others and maybe it’s not but it sure feels like it to many. People seem to be having greater financial stress, and feel they can’t cope with other issue they are facing.
I was reminded of a scripture reading from Philippians 4:4-7:
4. ‘‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
5. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
6. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
7. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. The peace of God described in today’s reading is one of the many blessings God promises his people who pray.”
Have you ever heard people talking about having inner peace?
We can get the impression inner peace is a personality trait some people who are calm by nature have more than others.
Other times, inner peace is described as something people can develop by following a pattern of relaxing meditation techniques.
But the kind of peace Paul (writer of Philippians) describes is very different.
It’s not something only a few people can experience; it’s a gift that everyone can receive.
And when Paul says this peace “transcends all understanding,” he indicates that it is not something we can produce by our own efforts.
Paul is describing the peace that comes from God and that guards troubled hearts.
The picture in this verse is compelling. Our prayers connect us directly to God.
The best inner peace is the kind that God alone can provide. If your heart needs that peace, ask God to give it to you. He will surely do it.
“No circumstance is so big that God cannot control it.’’
That’s a quote from Jerry Bridges and the following is a poem my sister Barbara wrote a few years ago called The Peace of God:
Midst the turmoil, the chaos, the storm
When the waves are so high
the boat disappears
Or there are no waves at all
When the lightning flashes
and strikes at random
Or there is no light at all
When the rain is torrential
and you can’t see ahead
Or there is no rain at all
When the bushfire rages
and burns all in its path
Or there is no fire at all
When the battle is on
and people fall
Or there is no fighting at all
When all seems lost, forgotten or unplanned
‘Midst the turmoil, the chaos, the storm
There is the Peace of God.