And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)
The Lord has amazing timing, doesn’t He? For several months, I had been pulling together resources and studying Scriptures to write a devotional about peace. By the time I sat down to actually write it, peace had become far more than just a topic to study. It was becoming an integral part of my life. I had no idea how important that was to become.
I often withdraw to quiet places to write, and I did so for this devotional. The Holy Spirit was at work and it seemed like the words flowed for several days. Then came the call. It was a call I was waiting for from some medical tests I had done a week earlier. The tests results showed that I had a rare form of cancer called Mantle Cell Lymphoma…Stage 4. I confess that the writing stopped for two days while my wife, Kim and I prayed and scoured the internet to learn all we could of this disease. We discovered things we didn’t want to know! This was going to be a full-on struggle to survive! I can honestly say that though we had moments of uncertainty and stress, God’s peace never left us because we had been immersed in it for months. Only the Spirit of God could have known exactly what we would need in this moment and had prepared us ahead of time.
Writing a manuscript on God’s peace in an imperfect world was a miraculous blessing from God to prepare me through his Word, with his peace, for the news he knew I would soon receive. Far more than just an academic topic, his peace is a reality. A precious gift to be received and for which we give thanks.
It is a peace beyond understanding. A cancer diagnosis typically brings much fear and anxiety and I do not pretend that there have not been anxious thoughts. But in a way I do not understand and cannot begin to explain, God’s amazing peace has guarded our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
I think the key word is “guard”. It isn’t that there are not anxious thoughts and fears that arise. But a guard has supernaturally been set upon our hearts through Christ Jesus. This guard is awake and alert and prevents the natural thoughts and fears from gaining a foothold in our lives. Our minds and emotions do not have to be subservient to the circumstances around us. The peace of God is a strong guard that protects us and allows us to overcome a situation with the thoughts that come from him.
Once again, the key to all of this is desiring it and asking for it. You can read Philippians 4:7 and feel good about it, but if you do not, through prayer and faith, accept it into your life, it is simply nice words. God’s peace is available for all followers of Christ if we will ask for it and accept it into our lives. Then we can cultivate his peace through a life of prayer and trust.
Adapted from Prayer, Peace and the Presence of God by David Butts
(c) Harvest Prayer Ministries