Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.
For months now we have been on the theme of God’s provision, and one thing that God can provide to a degree unapproachable by anything else is peace. Different personalities react differently, but some people seem to be born anxious! Of course the environment from conception through age five or so has a huge impact on that, with everything from the mother’s hormones to family security and interactions playing a part. However, regardless of how we started life, God, and God alone, can give us the peace we seek and need. This short passage has been proclaimed, dissected, and parsed by countless writers and speakers precisely because it speaks to such a basic human need. As this expresses, faith is essential, but so is gratitude. We aren’t going to have peace that our future needs are going to be met if we fail to recognize and acknowledge how God has met our needs in the past. In a very real sense, peace is a choice. The devil is out to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10) our peace every chance he gets, but we can choose to trust God and receive His peace. A hymn that has long been a favorite of my wife is Count Your Blessings. (I certainly like it myself.) Looking back and seeing how faithful God has been over the years, even when we have ignored and/or rebelled against Him, is an excellent prelude to receiving the peace He has for us.
Yesterday was an excellent reminder of this for us. Every year we have a church Thanksgiving dinner, inviting neighbors to eat with us after we decorate the church the last Sunday before Advent. Turkeys are a rare item on Japanese menus, partly because the average home doesn’t have an oven of any size, so we have to drive up to Costco in Fukuoka, around 90 minutes by expressway, to get one. Since they are frozen we often get one early, but the last time we made the trip they didn’t have any in stock. This time I had called to confirm they had them, and Cathy had several other things on her list. Not only did they have an 11.32 kg (25 lb) turkey, (the biggest we’ve seen there) they also had almost everything else on Cathy’s list, to the point that tears came to her eyes at God’s goodness. Today we will be able to take invitations around to the neighbors with joy, knowing that God’s got it all covered. We have some new neighbors, as well as people we have known for years but who haven’t opened their hearts to Christ, and this will be an excellent opportunity to express the love of God to them all, allowing the Holy Spirit to draw them to repentance and faith. Nothing is impossible for God!
Father, thank You indeed for Your provision of peace and everything else we need. Help us make the use that You intend of each thing that You provide, for the blessing of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!