VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE
We all start a fresh year with wiping the slate clean, a new start, fresh hopes and sometimes resolutions, only to find problems arise sometimes within weeks of January that cause anxieties, stress and troubles to once again knock at our door.
I will use Philippians 4 again, like a well-placed nail in wood, it’s best to hit it a few times to make sure its embedded deep. Likewise, God is speaking into our anxieties through his scripture and offering us such assurance, peace and hope in our specific and individual time of need.
(Philippians 4:7) The promise of peace.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
And the peace of God: This is a threefold wonderful promise of God.
Peace from God; which is always an introduction in Pauls letters. It is a gift that is given freely and cannot be earned.
Peace with God; This is the unbreakable relationship we now enter into with God when once we were his enemies, but in Christ we are now His sons and daughters.
The peace of God; This is the peace spoken of in our Philippians 4. It is beyond all understanding, all mind, beyond our power of thinking. When the chips are down and we should be a mess and afraid, a peace comes upon us as we trust in the LORDS sovereignty, promises and grace of making all things good. People do not understand why we are acting so calmly when everything else says be downcast, be afraid.
I remember this peace in Afghanistan as a soldier attached to 16 Air Assault Brigade. I was tasked to patrol Sangin district daily where soldiers had previously been ambushed and regularly injured or killed in action. I was only young, scared and inexperienced. Fear was very real and very present. The peace which passes all understanding fell on me throughout that tour and I felt a closeness to God, an acceptance of His will in the situation and a peace that did not make sense in a scary, volatile situation. I can only try to describe it as a calmness of mind and ability to function in His strength, His security and Hope.
Which surpasses all understanding: It isn’t that this peace is senseless and therefore impossible to understand, but that it is beyond our ability to understand and to explain — therefore it must be experienced.
Guard your hearts and minds: The word guard speaks of a military action. This is something that the peace of God does for us; it is a peace that is on guard over our heart and mind.
Adam Clarke describes it as: “Shall keep them as in a strong place or a castle.”