Philippians 4:4-7;Zephaniah 3:14-18; (Psalm) Isaiah 12:2-6; Luke 3:10-18
“The peace of God … will guard your hearts.” (Philippians 4:7)
There was once a little town that was being harassed and pillaged by marauders. Good families were not able to defend themselves. All the people wanted was peace, but the town was filled with fear.
The king was shocked when he learned about the problem. “How can this happen to my own citizens?” he asked. He immediately dispatched soldiers to set up command posts at every entry point to the town. In short order, the raids came to an end, and peace was restored.
This little story can help us grasp what St. Paul meant about the peace of God “guarding” our hearts. Paul says that if we “make our requests known to God,” “with thanksgiving,” our hearts will be guarded. We will know peace (Philippians 4:6).
How often do you bring your needs to the Lord in prayer?
Probably quite a bit—especially the bigger concerns in your life. But Paul is asking us to bring everything to the Lord in a spirit of thanksgiving. He is reminding us that our heavenly Father, who has counted every hair on our heads, knows us deeply and has nothing but good in mind for us. This is why Paul urges us to be thankful.
Not everything in life goes our way. There is no lack of injustice and pain and anxiety in this world. But none of this comes from our Father—and we should keep none of it to ourselves. Rather, God is inviting us to bring it all to him, no matter how big or small, so that he can give us his guidance and his comfort. He wants us to be grateful that he is with us, no matter what paths we are on. This is how our hearts can be guarded and protected. This is how we can hold onto our peace in good days and bad.
We may not learn this overnight, but our wise and loving God can teach us—as we bring everything to him with gratitude and trust.
“Father, I trust in your love. Teach me the way of surrender, the way of peace.”~WAU