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)
God gives us a wonderful promise in this passage: we do not need to be anxious about anything, we simply bring our cares and concerns to God and He will guard our hearts and minds with His peace.
There are two key prepositions in this passage which help us to understand how this is so. The first is “with thanksgiving.” How does one bring a serious care or concern to God with thanksgiving? Some of the things that we are anxious about are very serious.
It’s faith that helps us pray with desperation and still be thankful. As overwhelming as the challenge we face is, God is greater. He holds the whole world and all time—past, present and future—in His hands. Not only is He powerful, He is also loving. We know that God is loving because God the Son came into this world and became human to suffer all the everyday challenges of human life. We have a God who knows what it is like to grieve over the loss of a loved one, to celebrate in joy with friends, to be hungry, lonely, happy and sad. But God’s love goes further than this. For Jesus willingly went to the cross to suffer and die to open the door to eternal life for us.
We always were going to live forever. But now, because Jesus has saved us, our eternal life will be spent with God. It begins now as the Holy Spirit turns our hearts and minds toward Jesus and we trust in Him to save us. It continues after death when we go to reside with Jesus in that home He has built for us to rest and wait. And life with God reaches its fulfillment in the new heaven and earth when evil is banished, death is destroyed and all things, including us, are made new again.
We can be thankful when we pray because God has already given those things to us. The troubles we experience in this world are only temporary. They are like kindergarten conundrums which prepare us for the fullness of life to come.
The second key phrase is “in Christ Jesus.” The peace that comes from knowing that we have a God who loves us, is with us and is actively at working drawing us closer and closer to the salvation He is unfolding for us and for the world. That peace guards us in Christ Jesus. The peace comes to us because of Jesus and it keeps us connected to Jesus as we rest in Him and He lives His life through us.
It is in Jesus that we have peace, joy and life, and the best place to be is in Him.
Dear Jesus, I am often anxious and worried about many things. Help me to come to You with thanksgiving for Your love. Help me to give You my cares and concerns and receive the peace that You give. Amen.