“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
A friend called me this week. Her husband has been scheduled for a diagnostic procedure to rule out serious medical conditions. As she spoke I could hear fear in her voice. She told me she knew she was to trust God for the outcome of her family’s health. After all, we are repeatedly instructed “not to fear” (Exodus 20:20, Psalm 3:6, Psalm 27:3, Isaiah 8:12, Isaiah 43:1, 1 Peter 3:14, not an exhaustive list). She, however, was feeling overwhelmed by anxiety.
Her emotional struggle made me ask, “How do we not fear as we face the unknown, our own or a loved one’s pain and suffering, or even death?”
As I spoke to her the verses in Philippians: 4:6-7 came to my mind. I usually focus on the commandments in the verse. They instruct us to “do not be anxious about anything” (emphasis mine) and “present your requests to God.” I find it easy to present my requests to God, but much harder not to be anxious. The perfectionist in me starts to squirm and asks, “Am I never to be anxious or afraid?” This command seems impossible to achieve.
As I read these verses again my eyes catches the last part of the text. They contain a promise! I have never noticed that before. If we faithfully, and even childishly, present our requests and demands before God, he pledges to guard our hearts and minds with his amazing peace. Like a soldier, he stands watch over us and protects us so that we are not overwhelmed or destroyed by threatening circumstances.
God as my protector–what a comforting thought! And with the Almighty God on guard, how can any threat stand a chance!
I feel relief with this new insight. God knows I am weak and has already provided for my needs. His peace is my security and protector as life takes unexpected turns.
Thank you for your all-surpassing peace that guards and protects my heart and mind from the things that threaten to overwhelm me. Remind me to run to you whenever I feel stressed, nervous, or afraid. I know that you have promised to be the Protector of my heart and mind.