01 Sep September Reverend Reflections
Hello First Presbyterian Church,
In recent weeks I have been meditating upon the passage that mentions the commonly prayed for “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.” It is found in Philippians 4:5-7, which reads;
“The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”
It is no surprise that “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,” is promised in a passage discussing the proper response to the anxieties of life. But what is surprising is that the promised “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,” does not mean the removal or absence of anxieties. Instead, what this peace accomplishes is the preservation of the Christian in the very midst of life’s anxieties. “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
What is at risk when we experience the anxieties of life is our abandonment of Jesus in search of something that will remove or relieve the problem. There may or may not actually even be a solution available, but Jesus has offered a solution to all things in himself. He alone has the power over death to make all things new again, and this is precisely what he has promised to do whenever he comes again. He will restore all that is lost and bind up all that is wounded. Until then, we wait expectantly for him in faith.
The most significant fact that can be written in our obituaries, therefore, is that we died “in Christ.” To possess this most important of appellations requires a resolve to abide in Jesus while we are yet alive—to remain in him—and not let our troubled hearts or minds distract us from communing with Jesus daily. In response to our stubborn pursuit of Christ, God will in turn keep us in his Son. He will give us his peace, which surpasses understanding, so that we can continue to remain in Christ amidst life’s anxieties and troubles. It becomes a cycle of abiding in Christ that does not remove anxieties now, but promises to do so forever whenever Jesus comes again to fulfill the work of redemption that he began through the cross.
May you know the peace of God which surpasses all understanding and may you be found in Christ when he returns to redeem the faithful ones on earth.