Friday, January 29, 2010

Philippians 4:6-7

I’ve carried this Bible verse around in my wallet since 1979, when I jotted it down on the back of a business card. At 26, I was going through a turbulent time in my life, and lacked the resources to cope with sometimes paralyzing fears and doubts. I was about to move to London for a new job, and didn’t think I had the guts to pull it off. Everything about my life seemed out of control.

What this verse promises, and what I eventually came to know, was the conscious presence of God. I discovered that God’s peace is not just credal formula, but a living reality. The peace that settled upon me at that time, and which I have experienced on occasion since, was supernatural. I have never been able to explain it; it runs beyond my comprehension. I do know that this peace brought me a sense of competence before God, and it gave me the capacity to carry on in difficult circumstances.

There have been days lately when these old doubts have come flooding back. I’ve lived as a believer of Jesus Christ now for 30 years, and yet I know anxiety for a whole new host of reasons. I once again silently recite this verse, and remind myself of the peace I know God has promised. And his spirit again calms me, and gives me rest.

This peace, when it is upon me, has more substance than you might imagine. It is surprisingly full of strength and vigor. It is not a spiritual marshmallow. Jesus spoke the words, “Peace be with you” on several occasions during his life, and never as a conventional greeting. He said it as if to underline a real and wonderful reality. It is the peace of shalom he brings—of wholeness. I have experienced it, and I continue to rely upon it. It’s a mark of the ineffable in my life.


Craig said...

Hi Peter,

Thanks for the reminder! May God continue to give you His peace that passes all human understanding.


Anonymous said...

Peter: I sincerely pray that the fears, doubts, and anxiety are, at least at times, lessened by your faith, family, and friends.

Carl Pelz said...

Ah... this resonates deeply even though it "runs beyond" our comprehension and makes us aware of our desire for more.