And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your
hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 (ANIV)
We know it in our heads, but do we experience it in our hearts? We say it, but do we mean it?
- God is love!
- God loves me unconditionally!
- God loves me so much that I experience the peace of his presence in the face of circumstances I can’t understand!
But how do we get these phrases — these statements of truth — into our everyday experience? How can we experience God’s peace even through life’s challenges?
I have to admit, sometimes life just not make sense. We face problems, challenges, events, loss, hurt, pain, rejection…and there’s no way of explaining it away. Many of life’s experiences defy understanding. There’s no rational explanation…they are beyond reason.
I experienced this personally with the death of my father in 2006. Our family was gathered for our traditional Thanksgiving holiday when my dad went to the doctor to find out the cause of a cough he couldn’t shake. To our shock, he was notified within a few days that he was suffering from terminal cancer and the doctor told him he had less than a month to live.
Why? Why my dad — a wonderful husband, father, pastor-missionary? Why now? There were no reasonable answers. It didn’t make sense! Why God? Why?!
However, even in the last few weeks of my father’s life — he died about 3 weeks after his diagnosis — I experienced an inexplicable peace…a peace that doesn’t make sense. It was a peace that began with my dad’s incredible faith and trust in God’s sovereign, loving care. My dad reassured us of the hope he had in God’s faithful promises, and modeled the powerful peace that comes with God’s presence. My dad faced his death full of faith, hope, love, and peace all of which came from the strength of God’s presence.
To this day, I can’t explain my dad’s death. I have no answers to the “why” question, but this I know with certainty: God’s peace — the peace of his sustaining presence — is a peace that defies all explanation, and it guards and protects our minds and our hearts as we go through life’s challenges.
What challenges, problems, or life experiences are you facing today? Do they defy explanation? You, too, can experience God’s peace by turning to him in faith, trusting that he loves you with a limitless love, holding on to the promise of his presence no matter what you’re going through.
That’s experiencing the truth: God is love; his love is limitless. He loves you enough to be with you, to strengthen you, and to give you his peace.