You’re driving down I-696 in Farmington Hills, Michigan when a truck in front of you loses its load of pumpkins. Suddenly, orange fruit is bouncing all over the highway and exploding against cars. A state trooper finally stops the renegade pumpkin-spilling truck, whose driver could be fined $150 for having an unstable load.
What worries are you trying to dodge this morning? The Wall Street Journal reports that European banks are devising risky new ways to continue borrowing from the European Central Bank, heightening fears about the Eurozone. Closer to home, The New York Times tells us that more American college graduates than ever before are living with their parents, unable to afford a home of their own.
Where do we find peace in times like these? There’s only one source we can trust: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3). This week we’ve learned that our “mind” is “steadfast” when we surrender our attitudes, thoughts, worries, and decisions to God. So far we’ve focused on attitudes and thoughts; today let’s learn to give our worries to our Father.
The pathway to peace is clear: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). “Do not be anxious” is better translated “stop being anxious” or “stop worrying.” We are not to worry “about anything”–there are no loopholes or conditions. This is a present tense imperative–“continually stop worrying about anything at any time.”
Instead, pray about “everything.” Do so “by prayer,” the general act of communion with God, and “petition,” the expression of your specific needs and requests. Do so “with thanksgiving,” in a spirit of gratitude for all he is and has done for us. Then you will experience “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,” a peace that circumstances do not warrant and human emotions cannot produce.
This peace will “guard” you–the Greek word is a military term used to describe soldiers standing on duty and protecting the city gates from within. When despair and discouragement come against you today, God’s peace will protect you. When doubts and struggles try to steal your joy, God’s peace will keep you safe.
But this peace can guard us only when we are “in Christ Jesus,” practicing his presence and claiming his joy. A shelter is not much good unless you get inside it. Have you stepped into the peace of God today?