Saturday, December 6, 2008

Striving for Peace

I have been reading Paul's letter to the Philippians this morning and was caught by a passage. Paul reminds us if we are concerned or worried about anything to take it to God in prayer. Some translations say be anxious for nothing, but by prayer and petition take everything before the Lord. I think the American implied response from God is everything will be made better. Our tendency is treat God in our consumer mindset which says I have made my needs known, now God will meet them.

Now there are some passages that seem to imply that God will give us what we ask for if we ask for it with enough faith, love and perseverance. The next part of the Philippians passage offers and answer which I have experienced more than receiving what I have asked form God. Paul reminds us we will receive peace. Isn't that interesting. Not that we will have all our concerns and worries cared for. Not that we will get all the stuff we are asking for, rather that God will give us peace.

Peace is a funny thing due to the fact we often associate peace with having all that we need and the absence of concern and worry. That is not really what peace is. Peace is having a living understanding of God's presence and power at work in every aspect of our lives. More than having all we want, or not having worry or concern, peace is being settled in our souls about what God is doing in and with our lives.

Concern and worry are not in and of themselves the problem. When concern and worry, or anything else for that matter, override our ability to trust what God is doing in any given situation the problem arrives. Peace is one of those things we strive to experience in our lives but cannot achieve on our own. The settled soul in the face of adversity, peace, is something which can only come from the heart of God, and our connection with it.

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