A reflection on Philippians 4:4-7
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)
If you are human, then you have felt anxious. There so is much to make us anxious. The world around us – with wars, starvation, abuses and neglect. In the lives of those around us – with relationship breakdowns, the people we love struggling, and diseases and death that don’t end. And there is much within ourselves – uncertainly, physical and mental pain or distress, or even the guilt or shame of past mistakes.
The word anxious is derived from the word having the idea ‘to strangle’. Recently I was at a wedding, and my suit was tighter than it is has been in the past 🙂 and I remember thinking that anxiousness feels like this, a squeezing, a choking, an uncomfortable feeling. What is the remedy to anxiousness? How do we escape it? How do we deal with it?
Paul tells us here, the remedy is the peace of God. As we come to God ‘in everything’ – every struggle and temptation, every anxious thought and worry. We come to God by prayer and we plead to Him. We come always with thanksgiving – we remember all His goodness – even when our struggles seem countless. We thank God for life, for friends (even if they be few), and for Christ Jesus – the gift of His Son to forgive all our sins and bring us to God.
We come to God with all our worries, all our fears, all that which is strangling us. We lay it before Him. It is God who gives us His peace – the peace of God – which surpasses all understanding, which guards our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.