Testing a Promise for Peace

Are you familiar with the expression, “…like water off a duck’s back…”? The rain is pouring down in sheets and buckets. As I gazed out the window of my office at the evergreen trees across the lawn I saw a family of ducks waddle out. Unfazed by the rain, they stood in the open for a time before finally wandering off. That phrase, “…like water off a duck’s back” popped into my head. Of course, being a minister I my mind automatically made several analogous leaps.

In our church’s monthly newsletter I write about peace and making time for rest.  Just last week I had a conversation with a church member about Matthew 11:28-30 where Jesus encourages those who are weary and pressed down by life to come to him, take up his yoke for it is easy and his bruden is light.  In Philippians 4:7 we’re told that in God through His Son, Jesus Christ, we can have a peace that passes all human understanding.

This peace is not contingent upon sunny days.  Peace is not what one feels when there are no problems in sight.  The only way one knows if they have achieved peace is during the storm.  The ducks standing in the pouring rain (this wasn’t a drizzle folks, but a ‘Noah load ’em up one more time’ kind of downpour) were completely untroubled.  This life situation which sent most sane people and animals scurrying for cover was no bother for them.  They were at peace.  The thunder rolled and still they stood there, looking about as if on a Sunday stroll through the park in perfect weather.

Do the problems of life roll off you like water off a duck’s back?  Do you have peace?  Even long-time Christians struggle with peace.  How do we have that peace that passes understanding?  The book of Philippians tells us, and I can attest to it’s accuracy for I’ve put God to the test in this area.  There was no peace in my life when God brought my attention to this passage.  I dared God to prove it…and he did.

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 ESV)

I’ve underlined the key words and phrases above.  Take a look at the Psalms.  How many of them are psalms of lament that, nevertheless, see the author rejoicing and praising God?  How many begin in lament and end in praise, not because the situation has changed, but because the psalmist has forced himself to remember God’s faithfulness in the past?

Remember and praise God for his past faithfulness.  Thank him for the blessings he has bestowed upon you.  Tell him what your anxious about.  And then remember again his faithfulness and praise him again.  This isn’t some abstract theological point of doctrine.  This is practical instruction.  You want peace?  God has promised peace, and told you how to obtain it.

Do you doubt?  I did.  Don’t take my word for it.  Test it.  I did.  God proved himself.  God doesn’t necessarily want to you have an easy life.  He does want you to experience peace.  So give it a try.  Seriously, what do you have to lose?

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