“6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:6-7~
Ever worry about something? Seems like there’s an awful lot to worry about these days: pandemics, elections, racism, wildfires, church conferences, even just figuring out what to make for dinner. There is so much to worry about, and all we can do is to do what we can do. So much in life is out of our control.
I’m always interested in the etymology of the words we use: a word’s history, its origin, what it meant or sounded like five or ten centuries ago. The English word ‘worry’ developed from an Old English word that meant ‘to strangle.’ When our worries get the best of us, they strangle us; it becomes difficult to even breathe, let alone enjoy the fullness of life.
Look up the word ‘worry’ in a dictionary and you’ll find it associated with unpleasant words like choke, torment, and bite. Our worries aren’t just passive burdens; they actively tear at our souls and make it difficult for us to live well.
But there is a place of quiet rest. It lies somewhere near the heart of God.
Philippians is one of the seven undisputed letters of Paul, and one of my favorite letters of Paul. For all of the Pauline passages that might keep you up at night, he offers beautiful passages like Philippians 4:6-7 that point us towards the peace of Christ.
Do not worry about anything. Easier said than done, right? By ourselves, yes. But all things are possible with God.
In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Notice that Paul includes thanksgiving in his instruction. Thanksgiving is our practice of celebrating all the ways we are blessed – and we are blessed, even when our worries seem like burdens.
And my favorite part of the passage – And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. The KJV translation of this passage says that the peace of God will keep our hearts and minds. The Good Shepherd always watches over the sheep, keeping them safe from ravenous wolves.
We have some things to worry about, but God is with us. There is much outside of our control, but we can put our trust in the Good Shepherd who watches over us.
Sometimes we can have trouble finding that place of quiet rest even when we pray. Even when we give thanks to God, we can have trouble finding it. Sometimes we need the help of caring people around us.
If your heart is burdened by worry and you just can’t find the peace and the rest that you need, please find someone to talk to. There is help for you, faithful guides who can help you rediscover the quiet center.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Best of all, the Lord is with us.
Thank for listening,