Paul, in one of his letters written while under house arrest, pens a powerful declaration of the human soul. He tells the believers in the city of Philippi,
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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 4:4-7 – NIV 2011)
Paul instructs us to rejoice, even in the middle of difficult circumstances, not once but twice. He tells us not to be anxious, instead to offer prayers to God with a thankful heart. And he says something that I think is beautiful. If you rejoice and pray, declaring your dependence on God, he will give you peace, “which transcends all understanding.”
Peace is easy enough to understand. It is the absence of conflict and the presence of calm and tranquility. Faith in Jesus as our Savior gives each believer a sense of peace. Then he adds a description that takes this idea to a new level. His peace will transcend or surpass all understanding. People who are not Christians will look at our lives in the middle of tumultuous situations and have no idea how we can remain calm.
The Church at Philippi might comprehend his words better than we do because of an incident that occurred there. While Paul and Silas were ministering in their community, they cast a demon out of a young girl who predicted the future. Her owners were furious and riled up the crowds. The result was that both were beaten with rods and thrown in jail. At midnight that sat in their stocks and “were praying and singing hymns to God.” (Acts 16:25)
Here are two men who follow Jesus, who had been beaten, their future uncertain, sitting in jail, and yet they were full of peace. It defies the imagination. How could someone be so calm in the middle of such pain, turmoil, and lack of control? They trusted God while rejoicing and praying.
Whenever life gets difficult in this world, one of the marks of a Christian is their ability to remain calm and filled with peace. My prayer is that today, wherever you find yourself, you would trust in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so that he may fill yours hears with peace.