This is one of my favorite passages.  In fact, the Bible has opened here before, including most recently on March 25.  I thought about reopening to another page, since I have blogged on this passage before, but the words have once again drawn me in:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!  Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

“The peace of God that surpasses all understanding” — that’s what I want.  Just saying the word peace brings with it an exhale and I feel some stress drop out of my shoulders.  Peace.  Now think of that peace coming directly from God.  And try to wrap your head around the concept that God’s peace surpasses all understanding — we cannot even fathom the extent of the peace that God will share with us.  Peace — a full exhale and my arms drop as the tension leaves the back of my neck.  That is what I want.

And the great thing about this passage is that Paul wraps it up in a nice recipe or formula as to how to achieve it:

  1. Rejoice in the Lord always!  I have always taken this passage to mean that we should sing God’s praises, which seems easy enough.  God is indeed great and it is easy to sing His praises.  But as I read it more closely (and look up the definition of “rejoice”), I see that what it really says is “feel joy or great delight” in the Lord.  I like the idea of this  — step one is to feel joy or great delight in the Lord — but how do you make yourself feel that?  Hmmm.  Not so easy… or is it?  Stop.  And think. God is great.  God’s love for us is great and unconditional.  God can do anything and forgive anything and no matter what we have done, he calls us back to Him.  Feel joy and great delight in the Lord and Rejoice!  With hands in the air, head tilted back to the sky, Rejoice!
  2. Step two: Your kindness should be known to all.  Be kind to others.  Not always the easiest thing to do.  Reflect God’s love to others, share God’s love with others.  Be kind.  Do unto others…
  3. Make your requests known to God through prayer, petition and thanksgiving — and by doing so, let go of your anxiety, let go of your control or belief that you can control it — give it to God. On paper these steps seem so easy — but in reality they can seem quite hard.  It is easy enough to pray for something, or to ask God for something — but, that is not enough. God asks us to let go of it — and by doing so — have faith in Him that He will take care of it.

So to sum it up: Feel joy and great delight in God, share that joy with others and have faith in God to take care of everything else.   (Starting to feel a little stress about whether this is achievable — so I am going to go back to feeling joy and rejoicing in God  — and I will let God take care of the rest.)

(With hands up in the air and my head tilted back) I rejoice in you, O God.  I feel the joy that only you can provide.  Help me to share this joy with others.  Help me to release my stress and worries and anxieties to you.  Help me to let go.  Help me to trust and have faith.  Thank you God!

One thought on “Joy and Peace (Again)

  1. It’s always nice to be reminded that “The Lord is near”. Sometimes I forget this. I also forget to let my request, my petition to be know to God too. Although I know He knows, but I forget to actually tell Him and ask for help. I amaze myself sometimes in the fact that I forget these things when He has never failed me! And whenever I ask for his help, or guidance, there is always a peace that settles over me. I never really thought about it until you posted this scripture and your insights, but it’s because when I ask, I know He will provide. How can that NOT bring me peace?!! I read the part “Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” slightly different. I read it as a sort of hope, trust, and joy all wrapped up that has at times has come over me that is hard to understand. For example, I lost a baby 18 years ago. Of course this was devastating and I didn’t understand why. I asked Him why and mourned. For a short time I was angry. But it didn’t take too long that I entered into His peace. I just knew that it was OK. That my baby is OK. That my baby is being taken care of and is with Him. I also had and still have a trust that there is a good reason God let this happen. And this brings me hope. I don’t exactly know why except that maybe I’ll see my baby in Heaven. Or that because I know my baby is alright and with Him, that I too and all my loved ones too will be there. I really can’t explain this feeling of hope. But with all that maybe explains the Joy I have. I don’t really understand this peace – this gift from God but after reading this scripture again, I think that this must be the peace that surpasses all understanding – because it certainly has guarded my heart and mind! Had it not been for this gift of peace, I would probably still be in bed crying – 18 years later. Yes, of course I prefer that I had the opportunity to raise my child. But we all know that God’s plans are so much greater than ours!
    A short witness story – I was talking to a girl at work one time about my loss and she said “You just seem so happy. I was afraid to ask you because I didn’t want to bring up the pain it might bring back. How are you so happy telling me this? Does it have something to do with your faith?” And I said “Yes. It has everything to do with my faith. I trust in God. I trust He is taking care of my baby. I trust that he has plans. I just trust everything will be OK” She asked me “How? How do you know?” And I just said “I don’t know how I know. I just do. I HAVE to trust in God. Nothing else would make sense.” She leaned back and said “Yes. I wish I had that faith. I’m just going to have to trust in Him more.” I told her that yes, she could trust Him. I advised her to pray more, to just talk to Him and leave her issues with God to deal with. Since, she has told me that she prays more often and she feels much better and that she doesn’t worry as much about her son as she used to! And he has been doing better! ……. Let your requests be known – The Lord is near – Peace will come – Rejoice!!!! And again….. Rejoice!!!! God is good….

    Dear Lord,
    You are truly amazing. You are so awesome! Thank you so much for all You have done for me! My heart rejoices for You! I love YOU!

    Liked by 1 person

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