walk in the word
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 4:5-7
Notice the two areas of peaceful protection we can expect from our Heavenly Father: our hearts and our minds. God will guard those two parts of us, eighteen inches apart, which seem to conspire against us. If our hearts are troubled, it won’t be long before our minds will be in turmoil. If our thoughts are headed in the wrong direction, our hearts will soon follow. But God’s peace, the assurance of His control, can guard both heart and mind no matter what we are facing.
Right now, there are Christians going through unbelievable things with God’s peace. Their assurance in the face of evil and pain is a testimony that brings glory to God, for it is clear to those watching that something which surpasses all understanding is going on. These Christians are getting supernatural help! Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they are in the furnace, but they are still walking around.
Almost 700 years before Paul wrote to the Philippians, Daniel’s friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were living out this passage in the face of great opposition. They were rejoicing in the Lord always, letting their reasonableness be known to everyone, recognizing the Lord was at hand, and experiencing the peace that far surpassed King Nebuchadnezzar’s understanding. That is, until he saw how God showed up in the furnace!
Think of those young Jewish men standing near a roaring furnace, knowing they were about to be fed to the flames (see Daniel 3:8–30). They weren’t sure they wouldn’t die. Their peace came from being sure that no matter what happened, God would deliver them.
No doubt you long for that calm confidence in your heart. But do you believe that no matter what you are going through, God is in control and working all things for your good? Peace is easy to understand when everything is going well, but not so easy when circumstances get hard. God’s peace is always available, and He wants you to rest in it—especially in seasons of darkness and difficulty. The peace that surpasses all understanding is one of the best gifts God has to give!
Remember, you don’t get to choose your furnaces. But you can choose to live rejoicing in the Lord. You can choose to get along with others and practice anxiety-free days as you turn everything over to God with thanksgiving. Even if you don’t fully understand how to go through challenges with a calm, quiet confidence, this will not prohibit God’s ability to give you the gift of peace. And that peace is a powerful way to draw others to the God who has graciously given it.
Lord, I confess that I don’t look forward to furnaces, but I do long for Your peace! I realize it is never the furnace that causes the peace, but Your presence before and in the furnace. So, Lord I choose to rejoice in You today, and I will let others know I’m rejoicing in You. Give me wisdom in engaging others. Guide me to be thorough as I turn everything over to You in prayer. And thank You that I can live without anxiety in Your care. I accept Your peace today, in Jesus’ name, amen.
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