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Peace That Passes Understanding

11 Jun

This week has been a lesson in trusting God. He has presented Philippians 4:6-7 to me almost every day this week, in one form or another (usually in song, two of which I’ve stuck to the bottom of this post, for your enjoyment!). This famous verse says: 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.

The promise is clear: when we present our worries and prayers to God, he will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. This week I have been the beneficiary of that peace…

This morning I had the privilege of speaking about my Korea Adventure in my church. Normally me and public speaking don’t mix. If I’m not prepared, the result is usually a nervous babble that makes my listeners feel sorry for me. What doesn’t help is when I actually step outside of myself and start to hear the simultaneous rebuke that goes on in my head, on top of the words I’m already trying to say. Usually they’re something like this: don’t say that – no, why did you just say that! Okay, stop it with the excessive detail. Stop waving your hands. For once in your life, Deborah, be cool! This happened to me last Sunday, when I got the opportunity to share to a smaller group of church people about how I decided to go to Korea. Beforehand I thought it was no big deal, but then I was caught completely off guard when I got up to speak and my heart started hammering so forcefully I thought I’d fall over. Yikes! Luckily what came out of my mouth got progressively better near the end, and I got some good encouragement afterwards. But let me tell you, it was not fun.

So back to today – with that horrid feeling from last week weighing on me, I walked to the front of a room that held considerably more people waiting to hear what I had to say. Was I feeling good about it? Of course not. But then something happened. My prayers about this morning were suddenly answered, and in a discernibly pin-pointable moment, the nervousness seemed to melt out of my mind, out of my wildly beating heart, out of my shaking fingers and wobbly knees, and on to the ground. A peace I’ve rarely known in public speaking flowed over me and I can say that, without a doubt, this was the true spirit of Christ Jesus guarding my heart and mind with a peace that totally transcended any understanding I have about my body’s reaction to this particular type of torture. And there’s the key: this was not about me. I am merely a vessel for the things God is trying to do through me. I was just there to tell people about it.

The peace of God guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, which means we should be able to attribute that strange, sudden peace in our lives to Him. The fact that it transcends understanding is also important – it goes to show that the Spirit of God is constantly shaping us into something stronger than we think we are.

This truth continues to speak itself louder in my life, ever since that evening four months ago when I stood in front of a mailbox, SALT application in hand, practically begging God to make me ready for this mission by the time it rolled around. And you know what? He already has. I am already equipped, because I have the desire to serve God, to do the work he’s set out in advance for me to do (Ephesians 2:10). He would never plant in me a desire to do something for Him, only to say “so there it is, Deb, it’s all up to you now!” No – another one of his AMAZING promises is that he will carry on the work he’s started in us to completion (Philippians 1:6). For me, that started with His giving me the courage to finish and mail off my application. It continued when I made the decision for Korea. Then it continued with His peace, guarding my heart and mind against my own hang-ups and insecurities when I had to speak in front of a bunch of people. And it will continue as I pack up my room, dust off the suitcases, and head out for places and experiences unknown. I am 100% sure, when I’m in Korea, that there will be  times when my heart beats so quickly it wants to bowl me over. But I am also 100% sure God will be there, whispering his unmatched peace into my heart, overpowering my inner monologue of self-doubt.