“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
“Christians would share this verse with me about ‘peace that passes understanding,’ but I felt no peace. Laying there in the hospital, I questioned my salvation…” I asked my friend if he ever received that peace. The answer surprised me. “No, I haven’t.” Four years since his car accident and my friend, a mature follower of Christ, hasn’t known peace.
This chunk of conversation rattled me so that I’ve been chewing on it all week. I understand lack of peace. Finances are ever an issue. I look at my bills, eyeball my bank account and walk away overcome with anxiety. Guilt is an issue too. Guilt projected by others, guilt piled on by self-you should visit your dad in the hospital, you should be the perfect parent, you shouldn’t have gotten into this financial situation. The car dying when I couldn’t afford a new one, the marriage ending period; all trials potentially rob us of peace.
Scripturally, peace seems the end result in the process. And it is a process. First fight anxiety by thinking rightly about God. Think rightly about circumstances as well. Having my material ducks in a row allows me peace. Ducks in a row make great targets for Satan and circumstances though. Which ducks did God promise would remain standing? Perfect health? Owning a house? An intact marriage? Peace eludes me, too, when I insist on having things never promised by God in the first place.
Peace is seen as smooth and happy circumstances when it’s often the opposite. We think of it as the lake without ripple, its water like glass. Truly it’s more like the old beer commercial-the bull is running amok in the cafeteria but your table is calm though the bull rages. The internal and external pain may still rage, the questions still persist, peace permeates all.
Peace is derived from the right perspective. We give thanks because all things come from the hand of God. The grappling and the pain, the qualms and the questions God will honor when they are based in scripture and set against His true character. It will never arrive via false facts and fairy tale expectations.