There are times in your Christian life...usually during a time of crisis where you find yourself in a state of anxiety and worry and you need peace. Not world peace; we won’t really have that until the day when Jesus comes again to bring real peace. Not peace with Jesus. As a Christian your sins have been forgiven when you placed your trust and faith in Christ. No, there’s another kind of peace that is needed, the kind of peace that surpasses all understanding...it’s the kind of peace you need when your heart has been broken. You need it when the trials of life seem to be overwhelming; you need it because you are anxious and you worry; you need it because no one can seem to provide you with that inner peace that you need.
It’s not that people aren’t trying to give you the help you need. The parents...they try, your husband or wife...they try, sons and daughters...they try, your friends and extended family...they try. Their intentions are good but they just can’t seem to give you what you really need. What you really need, and what I really need is a “peace that surpasses understanding.”
What is a peace that surpasses understanding? It’s the peace that God gives us that takes away the worry and anxiety from our inner lives. When the circumstances of life should, by all human understanding, be tearing us apart and leaving us in a heap, with no joy, no power, no testimony of the goodness of God, instead of those circumstances leaving us with a sadness of heart and a spirit of defeat and gloom there is the “peace that surpasses understanding”. It takes away the anxiety, it takes away the worry, and it replaces the sadness with joy.
Whenever I had a problem with something as a kiddo, when the wheel was coming off of my bike I would go to my father because he was willing and he had the ability to help me when my wheels were coming off. I could have gone to mom, but she wouldn’t have been able to help. I could have tried my brother, but it wasn’t going to be a good move, not that they didn’t want to...they just didn’t know how.
But whenever I needed a “peace that surpasses understanding”, that you just can’t explain, I discovered you receive that from Christ. How did I find out that He was the only one I could turn to when the “wheels were coming off” of my life? Through the teaching of my primary Sunday School teacher, Mr. Walls.
He noticed in Sunday School one day that something was troubling me, and that was because there was something troubling me. Something I didn’t really want to talk about with my dad or mom, or anybody for that matter. It was taking the joy out of my life and I worried about what to do about it. The guys and gals at school were making fun of my speech again. I had a speech impediment that made it hard for people to understand what I was saying, and I was worried about what was going to happen and anxious about speaking to anyone at all. My parents had enrolled me in a special after school class for special attention that sought to teach me how to pronounce my words more clearly. They were doing all they could, but they really couldn’t do anything about the inside.
It bothered me for a long time, I would spend sleepless nights, anxious about what I would face the next day...but I kept it on the inside. For whenever I would mention it to someone they would just kind of tell me not to worry about it, everything was going to be okay. But it wasn’t...on the inside. I needed the “peace that surpasses understanding”.
When I was eight years old things began to change. I believed and trusted Jesus Christ to be the Savior of my life. I started a personal relationship with Christ. I finally had access to the one that I needed to take the worry and anxiety away. That’s where anyone must start if you want this kind of peace that only Christ can give. I was different on the inside...I wasn’t the same...and the presence of Christ in my life changed everything. Mr. Walls knew that I had what I needed to take away my worries and anxieties. Someone who was willing to love me and help me and who had the ability to give me a peace that just can’t be understood by the human mind alone. He explained to me what God had revealed through the Bible, the Word of God, about how to have peace on the inside. It was just what I needed and throughout my life it has come to mean more and more to me. You’re probably familiar with the verses.
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)
Throughout my life, the pattern began to emerge that would change me on the inside. Crisis, trial, worry, anxiety, would eventually lead me to a deeper personal relationship with the Lord. He was real and I was gaining understanding about Him and myself. All the worries and anxieties have provided me with opportunities to know Christ better and to experience Him in a more personal way. I discovered that the Word of God was leading me to the God of the Word...to the “peace that passes understanding”.
Believe me there have been plenty of times where God has given me that peace and I would turn right around and pick the burden up again and place it on my shoulders, but over the years I have watched Him change me and help me trust Him more than I used to...even though I certainly haven’t “arrived” to where I need to be. But I do know Him better...He is real to me...I can go to Him...and trust Him.
Real prayer is the key. You replace anxiety and worry with prayer. You start the passage in Philippians in worry and anxiety, then you talk to the Lord. You pray, about everything. You don’t have to parse your sentences; you don’t have to hide any thoughts. When you trust someone you have a lot to say. You can say anything and make requests of God, even about a speech impediment, or maybe even the loss of a grandchild, or anything that is causing you to worry and have anxiety. When we pray we are to pray about everything with thanksgiving. We don’t wait until we have an answer. We are thankful for the answer, whatever it might be, because we know that God will work all things together for good to those who love Him. (Romans 8:28) We know that He always answers our prayers. It will be yes, it will be no, or it will be wait. We know He will answer in the best way. We know we can trust Him and it brings us inner peace,
You enter the passage with worry and you exit the passage with peace, and it is prayer that occurs in between. I know that prayer changes things, but really, it changes me more. The storms of life, the trials, and the circumstances are usually still there; they haven’t changed but He has changed me and given me peace.
When I try to carry the burden alone...and believe me I’ve done that way too many times...the worries and anxieties will come back and dominate my thought life, and if they do, I know where I must go and what I must do. Pray with thanksgiving to Him. He is my only relief.
Maybe you need that kind of peace. Go ahead, take the worry and anxiety and replace it with a prayer of thanksgiving and trust, and receive the “peace that surpasses understanding”.