When Peace Exceeds Understanding
There are very few developments surrounding this current climate that have not created some degree of concern even in the lives of those who are believers. For those of us who are not typically worriers, this pandemic crisis has generated a new feeling of concern that is uncommon. Because we find ourselves in a space where answers are few, it is normal that the anxiety level is increased. So, how do we deal with the unknown without allowing the anxious feelings to overwhelm us? How do we move in the degree of peace that is promised in Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which (transcends) passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
We must first realize that the feeling of concern is normal. It is absolutely normal to be concerned when the ramifications of the circumstances are unknown. It is also normal to be concerned in this unprecedented time as we witness instability in the systems for which we had historically come to rely upon, i.e. economic system, financial system, medical system and an organized religious system that we have become accustomed to. Because each of these areas look completely different than they did three months ago, concern is a natural response. Concern is not worry. Concern is not doubt. Concern is not fear.
Doubt says: We can’t make it through this.
Worry says: We just don’t know what is going to happen to us in this?
Concern says: We will use wisdom, preparation and prayer to get through this.
Worry paralyzes, but concern can drive us to a realistic plan of action.
Although it’s not possible to worry and have peace, it is absolutely possible to be concerned and yet possess a peace that transcends or goes beyond the limits of our natural intellect, comprehension or understanding.
Remember, our peace is of God rather than in external factors. We may not be comfortable with the environment, but our peace is in God through Jesus Christ. The problem that sometimes creates mental and emotional anguish is when there is far too much reliance upon these temporal systems that are now unable to stand less the Lord turns them around.
So today, as difficult as it may sound, as discouraged as you may have been, and as concerned as you might find yourself – remember this one thing: the peace of God surpasses our understanding.
In this fourth chapter of Philippians, there are two scripture texts that anchor this familiar seventh verse. The preceding verse speaks on prayer. The following verse speaks on thoughts. Therefore, if we maintain a heart of consistent and persistent prayer and if we keep our minds and thoughts on the promises and the power of God, we can certainly experience a peace that passes our understanding, regardless of the situation facing us.