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. Phil 4:4-7
In these verses, God gives us several commands: Always rejoice. Be reasonable. Never worry. Come to God with your requests about everything.
What commands! Why would God give us such extreme commands? It is easy to look at these verses and think “that’s not what God really expected! It can’t apply to me… that’s impossible!”
At times in my life, I can look at those commands and become discouraged… My heart is prone to worry about so many things… various health complications, stress at work, finances, the “unknown” in my future, etc. I often find it easier to complain rather than to rejoice. My thoughts are often not reasonable. I forget to come to God in prayer.
Today was one of those days for me. I woke up worried about everything. My heart immediately welled up in fear. “God, this doesn’t make sense… why is this happening? Won’t you step in and fix this?” On and on the cycle goes… and I quickly find my heart overwhelmed at my circumstances and discouraged because I’m not obeying these commands to not worry and to come to God in prayer.
I’m grateful that these “impossible” promises are surrounded by amazing promises of God. I’m not merely commanded to rejoice in the middle of hard circumstances just because; I am commanded to rejoice because I remember that my God is near. I’m not commanded to just “buck up” and deal with my anxious heart; I’m commanded to do that remembering that God welcomes me to come to Him in my need. He wants to give me peace. He wants to guard my heart. That’s why I don’t have to fear, complain or worry… my God is near and He cares!
So he supplies perfectly measured grace to meet the needs of the godly. For daily needs there is daily grace; for sudden needs, sudden grace; for overwhelming need, overwhelming grace. God’s grace has given wonderfully, but not wastefully; freely but not foolishly; bountifully but not blindly. –John Blanchard
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul. Ps 94:19
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27
[copyrighted, 2009, Emily Schankweiler]