“The Son of God suffered unto death, not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like His.”- George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, First Series
Timothy Keller begins Chapter 15 (“Thinking, Thanking, Loving”) of Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by defining/discussing the “peace of God” St. Paul speaks of in Philippians 4:7. This “peace of God” has two components:
1. God’s peace is an inner calm and equilibrium. In verses 11-12, Paul states that he has learned how to be content in any situation. Considering that Paul was facing torture and death, this is a very strong claim. Pastor Keller also stresses that Paul says that he has learned how to be content. In other words, this kind of peace is not natural to Paul or to any of us. It is not a talent only some have, but something anyone can learn.
2. God’s peace is not merely an absence- it is a presence. God’s peace is not the absence of negative thoughts like fear, it is the presence of God Himself. As the author points out, Christian peace doesn’t begin by ousting negative thinking:
“Christian peace . . . is not that you stop facing the facts, but you get a living power that comes into your life and enables you to face those realities, something that lifts you up over and through them.”
Pastor Keller explains that God’s peace is a sense that no matter what happens, ultimately everything will be alright, present appearances to the contrary. It’s almost a “reason-transcending sense” of God’s protection.
Today’s question: Which component of God’s peace describes by St. Paul is most meaningful in your current situation? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “The discipline of thinking”