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And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds. (Philippians 4-7 NIV)
Hearing this verse always arouses my skepticism. What makes a person attribute their peace to God, much less give them assurance that it will protect their hearts and minds? I have had conversations with people about finding contentment in life while they continued to strive to meet their goals. And I have observed that many people never seem content—content with what they have while knowing that others have more. This is not my issue. I know others have more and I am good with it. But such contentment is different from my experience of peace.
Peace to me is knowing all will be well, even when some of the things I want are missing, even when my world and the global world are in turmoil. Peace is knowing that something or someone greater than I is there surrounding me with the knowledge that I am not alone.
So why is this passage speaking to me now? After a period in my life when I thought things were going right, they suddenly seemed to be going wrong. Yet, I realized I was at peace. How did this happen I asked myself? Self didn’t answer. My mind told me much needed to occur before I could be at peace. However, I was at peace. When did this happen? How did that happen? Had the peace of God actually guarded my heart and mind? My skepticism arose at that thought.
Reflecting back, I realized that after a conversation with a friend about food sufficiency I found myself at peace. I recognized how fortunate that I was. In spite of what I thought was a financial downturn for me, I did not have to worry about food or a place to live. All would be well. I have pondered why this is so. Was it because I realized that I really had so much?
In the past, I have said I gave my problems to God in prayer, but instead of trusting God I tried to solve them myself. I have always pushed back against people who base their sense of peace on the assurance that God will take care of their every need. Surely, this so-called peace is untethered to how the world works. I believe that God is there to comfort, and walk with us through the rough patches, not keep us from harm or want. As I thought through this, I have come to realize that peace came not from any conversation about food, but from rejecting the idea that I could do it alone. I needed to trust God’s love. Once I did, all was well with my soul. I found a place of comfort and peace. I still struggle with this realization. But at least I struggle in peace.