Friday, March 31, 2017

The Peace That Passes Understanding

All Christians are familiar with Philippians 4:7 which reads:
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” 

That’s the King James translation. Other translations are even more expressive:
  • And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [NASB]
  • And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [NIV]
  • Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. [New Living Translation]
I have always loved the idea behind this verse, even as a little girl. It spoke of the “bigness” of God, and of God’s amazing power - that we could have peace even when it didn’t make sense to. I believe that at various times in my life I experienced that peace. But now, I am living in that peace. 

Allow me to explain.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, or you know me personally, you know that I’m chronically ill, and have been ill for over 13 years, now. Prior to that, I was a hard-core amateur athlete, and I had a rewarding career that I loved. But because of the illness, I had to give all that up. In fact, I had to give up everything - even going to church - because I just didn’t have the energy to do so. As the years passed and I never got better (despite many prayers and many doctor visits), I obviously struggled to find my way in this new life I had. I eventually came to the point where I placed all my trust in God, because I knew that God is good and God is love. I didn’t understand why God didn’t heal me, but I still trusted that God could make something good come out of even something as negative as a chronic illness. It’s been a long journey, with many, many ups and downs, but here I am 13 years later, and I am at peace. And this peace doesn’t seem to be going away! Even on my worst days, there is still this underlying feeling of peace and contentment. 

Now, don’t misunderstand me - I still have days when the unfairness of it all hits me hard, and I feel angry and depressed. But even in the midst of those difficult emotions, I am somehow at peace; I don’t feel consumed by the dark feelings - they’re there, I acknowledge them, I feel them, but they don’t seem to outweigh the peace in the depth of my soul. It’s really quite incomprehensible, if you look at it logically! I mean, seriously, just think: I lost a job I loved (which also meant a loss of over half of our family income), I lost my sports that practically defined who I thought I was as a person, I lost my church, I lost my volunteer activities, I lost almost all of my other hobbies and interests. I have lost SO much! And on top of the loss, I feel terrible, physically. Every single day. No matter how long I sleep, I never wake up refreshed. I feel like I have the flu 24/7/365. And yet I have peace.

It truly does surpass comprehension and understanding!

All I can say is, it’s God. This peace is not of my own making. My natural tendency is to worry and to overthink things. But somehow in the midst of this incredibly difficult life, I have peace. When I gave up my need to control things, when I put my trust fully in God, the peace that passes understanding arrived! And it looks as though it’s here to stay. I certainly hope so!