Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, February 18, 2024
Shavuah Tov,

Supernatural Peace
by Jerry Miller

“Do not be anxious about anything—but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  And the shalom of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Messiah Yeshua.” (Philippians 4:6-7, TLV)

Don’t be anxious about anything?  What a challenge these words of Scripture present to us!  Anxiety can be such a temptation, whether it’s stirred by the global turbulence of our times, or just the personal difficulties we all face in daily life.  Anxiety is there, knocking at the door of our hearts.

Of course, the larger context of the passage above shows us that God offers us hope in the midst of anxiety’s temptations.  Paul writes of a peace that comes from God Himself, and it’s a peace that goes beyond what our minds can understand.  That means that if we are processing the events of life with understanding alone, we will be more susceptible to anxiety.

But isn’t this a large part of the struggle we often deal with?  As human beings, we want so badly to understand.  “How can this happening?  Why are these things going on in my life?  I just don’t understand!”  These are words we can often find ourselves thinking or saying, and it’s normal to entertain such thoughts.  But focusing on our lack of understanding can be the very thing that is opening the door to anxiety.  Again the alternative God offers us is a peace that goes beyond our understanding.

A basic question we must embrace is this:  can we be content in times when we don’t understand?  Isn’t that actually the evidence of our trust for God?  Proverbs exhorts us to trust in the Lord with our heart, and not to lean on our understanding.  Yes, we are to trust God even when we don’t have the answers to the questions that race through our minds.  We trust God because He is totally trust-worthy, and our trust for Him is actually key to overcoming anxious thoughts.

The passage above emphasizes prayer as the context for our victory over anxiety’s tyrannical rule.  We must see that prayer involves so much more than just asking God for different needs.  Prayer is conversation and relationship with the Lord, and it’s a venue for us to be giving voice to our trust for Him.

What is central to our expression of trust is the simple act of giving thanks.  Thanksgiving to God, even in circumstances we don’t like and don’t understand, is one of the most powerful ways to declare our trust for Him.  Thanksgiving can actually disarm our natural drive to understand everything, and it opens the way for the peace of God to flood our hearts and minds.  I find in my own life that when thanksgiving prevails, it’s hard for anxiety to have its way.

Anxiety prevails when we allow our natural mind to rule over our hearts, and reason triumphs over trust.  We follow the drive to understand and have everything figured out, and our unanswered questions wage war against our trust in the Lord.

God really does offer us a peace that is better than understanding.  A key to that peace is a lifestyle of giving thanks, especially when we don’t understand.  That’s when our thankfulness becomes an offering or a sacrifice of praise.

As followers of Yeshua, we don’t have to be limited to the realm of our understanding.  God beckons us to step out into the realm that goes beyond what we can understand.  It’s called the realm of faith, in which peace can prevail in the midst of the storms of life.  May the Lord give you grace today for stepping into that realm, not just today but every day of your life.  May His peace that passes understanding be your inheritance.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
9 Adar I Sunday 18-Feb-24
Exodus 27:20-28:12 2 Kings 3 Psalm 116-117 John 9 Titus 2