I was doing my Bible Study last night and came across a familiar passage in Philippians. One that I've read countless times over the years.
"6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
In all of the years that I've tried to UNDERSTAND what God is doing in my life, I've never been granted that understanding. Sometimes there is just no making sense of why things happen or why God does or doesn't allow things.
And being told that God is going to work all things together for good may be true, but how people tend to use that verse (Romans 8:28) and want to apply it to me and my story has felt hurtful - my heart is missed, my feelings are invalidated, and it somehow seems to excuse the sad or awful things that have happened.
It IS true. God does work all things together for good. And I'm so grateful that He does because I desperately need Him to do that! He makes beauty from ashes and restores the years back to us that the locusts have eaten. All of that is true and I've experienced it to be true. For me though, it just hasn't been that simple. I haven't read that verse and been instantly comforted by the truth of it. I've just been angry, because how God works things together for good isn't how I would do it, and it isn't the kind of good I would have originally picked either.
Which is why He is God and I am not.
Reading this Philippians passage last night filled me with something new though - PEACE.
God's peace - and having that peace - is so great and so far reaching into our souls that it does more for us than merely being able to make sense of or understand our circumstances, our stories, or just this world.
And His peace guards our hearts and minds. Our minds can think bad things and hearts can often feel unpleasant feelings. His peace protects us from our own thoughts and feelings and where our hearts and minds tend to wander.
I looked up the Greek word used in this passage for guard/keep. The word is phroureo and it means: To guard, protect by a military guard, either to prevent hostile invasion, or to keep the inhabitants of a besieged city from flight. I love that word here. He guards and protects our hearts and minds like a war general. He prevents our hearts and minds from experiencing hostile invasion. He keeps us close to him so we can't leave, even if we've been besieged. I'm curious about where I've resisted His protection in this place too. There is a lot to ponder here about what it means for God to guard my heart and mind.
It's clear that His peace goes beyond my inability to understand what He's doing in my life - and I think I'm beginning to feel okay with that.
I think maybe I'm beginning to make peace with God after all these years. And as a result, He is granting me the kind of peace that surpasses my understanding. The peace that I've been looking for all this time....