Philippians 4:6-7 “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.”
Those of us who are “in Christ Jesus” have the assurance of our salvation and the accompanying peace (the kind that those “in the world” marvel at) ready to be claimed at any moment and in every situation. Are we claiming it daily or are we holding out for a crisis? Are we activating the power of that peace with continual thanksgiving? Thanksgiving. Hmmmm. I confess that I don’t practice “counting my blessings” or just being grateful nearly enough. Could that possibly be the reason that I come across as frantic or worried rather than confident that God is able to handle all of the challenges of my life?
Today I visited two people who are going through tough times. Both of them inspired me with their attitudes.
My aunt is recovering from knee replacement surgery. Her door was unlocked, so I knocked and stuck my head in to hear her welcoming voice coming from the next room. We ate lunch, chatted and laughed together. She showed me her impressive scar and demonstrated her techniques for getting from place to place. She expressed her gratitude for her doctor, for the care of her husband, daughter and friends, for the sweet gestures from loved ones and for her pain medicine. I didn’t detect self-pity or bitterness. Just a determination to do what was going to be necessary to make a full recovery.
Then I made a short visit to the hospital to see a friend who sings in the choir with me and is in my Sunday School class. She is battling lung cancer, recently complicated by a harsh bout of pneumonia. She was wearing a wide smile and a cute hat when I arrived. Chemo treatments are beginning to cause her hair to fall out, but she’s preparing with hats and wraps — confident that it will all grow back in the not-too-distant future. This friend expressed thankfulness for the hospital staff, for her attentive husband, for ice cream, for her boss who has assured her that her job will still be waiting when she regains her strength, and for her daughter who is making plans to come and help when she gets home.
In both cases, gratitude was allowing “peace that transcends all understanding” to be realized. Both are believers. Both are being tested. Both are being great witnesses of their faith.
When my next crisis comes, I hope I will remember the visual and verbal testimonies of these two ladies. My prayer is that I will also be a witness to others of my own faith and of the peace that comes from knowing Jesus.