Reflection: A Philippian believer: “How can we not be anxious when our lives are in danger because we are following Jesus?
“And if we are all thanking God and asking him to respond to our requests, how can he possibly listen to all of us talking with him, at the same time? It isn’t easy to understand – in fact, it boggles my mind. I can only hear what one person is saying at a time!
“But if I try to think about who God is, what he is like, and what he is capable of, maybe I’ll understand better. Before God created the world, time as we know it didn’t exist. So, if God is sovereign and all-knowing, then hearing us and answering us when we cry out to him is not a problem for him; he is not limited by ‘time’ as we are. Of course he can listen to millions of people praying at once! He knows everything! And how amazing we can bring everything to God, nothing is too large, or too small for him – he wants to hear us. I still struggle to understand this – no one in my household has ever treated me like that before, let alone the God of the universe.
“Peace is hard to understand too. What is God’s peace? What does it look like, what does it feel like? How can our hearts and minds be guarded in Christ Jesus? As I think over the letter, I realise this may mean we are safe in Christ, because Jesus died in our place, and because absolutely nothing can come between God and us. What we have is not just a feeling of peace, but the reality that we have been made at peace with God! Our peace is guarded by God in the same way a palace guard ensures the safety of the people he has been entrusted with – keeping out anyone who is not meant to enter. We can actually be at peace while we struggle and suffer because of Jesus. Suffering and struggling is what living as a believer is all about.”
A few thoughts for us…
1. If you’re like me, trusting God in tough times can so easily be pushed out of our lives by anxiety, stress, busyness…Yet prayer is the very thing we need most. Both ‘arrow prayer’ requests (shooting up a quick prayer like an arrow) and talking with God in a more leisurely way helps us trust God.
2. Thank God that our hearts are guarded in Jesus. We actually do have real peace in him, no matter what our situation.
Prayer: Father – I praise and thank you, for listening to me. Thank you that I can bring everything to you in prayer; nothing is too large, or too small. Please help me to be faithful in prayer, handing to you all my concerns, rather than holding onto them, and stressing about them. Amen.