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 4:6–7, esv).
Peace is the calm assurance that what God is doing is best. And how we struggle to be calm! Calm implies a still, quiet confidence—not stressed, not pacing back and forth, not lying awake, not wringing our hands or biting our nails. Just still . . . quiet . . . calm.
Another word for assurance is confidence, and confidence is trust borne of experience. Christians who are new in their faith can find it hard to trust God because they have minimal experience with Him. But those who have done a few laps on the journey of following Christ recall what He has done and how He always comes through. So assurance is confidence based on experience.
True peace isn’t related to your environment or circumstances. You can’t find it by taking a walk in the woods. You can feel just as stressed on vacation as you are at home. A “restful” break from work can leave you feeling even more exhausted. Peace is a gift, something God gives. That’s why it’s called “the peace of God.”
Peace is not the assurance that what God is doing is easiest, nor is it the assurance that what God is doing is fastest.
Peace is the calm assurance that what God is doing is best.
Check the fine print. Being a Christian is the best life, but it’s not the easiest life. And there’s no accelerated program. Forming Christ-likeness is a slow process of sanctification. While God’s program is never easiest or fastest, it is best. When it comes to what He wants to cultivate, the Lord loves us enough to skip fastest and easiest and hold out for best. And though that path may lead through suffering, He gives us peace for the journey.
Through thankful, fervent prayer—articulating our burdens to God—we exchange anxiety for peace. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” When we pray, our difficult circumstances aren’t instantly fixed, but we invite God into the equation. We seize His promises and assurances. We review His track record. And we gain His peace.
The peace of God is powerfully vigilant, for it literally guards our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Imagine peace as a fortress encircling you. It protects your mental, emotional, and spiritual health; your stability; your steadfastness; your confidence in God. As you pray and God gives you peace, the walls of protection grow taller and stronger, protecting you more and more. Peace guards your heart.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Before? Anxiety. Now? Peace. Such a superior way of thinking that it surpasses, by far, our former way of thinking.
So rather than bracing yourself like you’re waiting for a bullet, live behind the safe protection of God’s fortress of peace. Come what may, your heart can be ruled by the calm assurance that what He is doing is best.
Father, teach me the path of peace. Teach me to pray with thanksgiving, to submit my requests and needs to You—and to leave them there. Forgive me for foolishly trying to carry my burdens on my own. You don’t want me to live in the clutches of anxiety; You want me to live freely, guarded by Your peace. Please flood and guard my heart with it. Remind me, Father, that peace is not the absence of problems in my life but the calm assurance that what You’re doing is best. You have never failed me and You never will. My confidence is in You. In the name of Your Son, Jesus, the Prince of Peace, amen.