Far and beyond
Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:5-7
Life, after all, is filled with anxiety. We worry over money. We worry over relationships. We worry over jobs and success. We worry over families and kids. We have the nagging sense that these are all things we should be able to master. Yet we try harder as we chase them and all the more we seem to suffer because we cannot reach them. The ideal response should be what Paul was stating from the text. This should be the natural inclination after we have come to know Christ in our lives. When we feel we are becoming anxious, we bring our prayers and petitions to God. But how do we feel when God doesn’t grant our request? Do we experience the peace that He alone provides? Or do we feel more anxious? Are we more compelled to pray harder wondering if God hears our prayer? When Paul wrote these verses, he was not lounging in a nice tropical island enjoying life and was saying, “Don’t worry, be happy.” He was imprisoned, always in danger, and humanly speaking nothing was going right in his circumstances. Yet, in the midst of all these uncertainties, he was still grateful. The truth is, in Christ our lives are complete. This is what goes when we are in plenty as well as in times of need. God does this according to His wisdom, in order to encourage us so we can remain strong in our faith and to challenge us so we will abandon unbelief. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, God made Himself known to us, and this surpassing gift provides peace. This mindset is what inspires gratitude and gives us a fresh perspective. Though our pursuit for financial security, true vocation, deep friendships or strong relationships may not disappear completely, but they can become less urgent. We might even find ourselves content and satisfied for we found far greater than what this world could provide.
Noel De Guzman