Phil 4: 6-9
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Whenever we face trials, it is human to be anxious. Anxiety will set in and we will feel the tremendous turmoil in our hearts. Though we may come to God and present our requests to Him, we cannot help but to feel anxious and think about possible scenarios and solutions that we can undertake at the same time. It is easier said than done to just switch off the turmoil we have when we are facing ongoing trials.
We often overlook the exhortation in verses 8 and 9 to have noble, excellent or praiseworthy thoughts instead of negative thoughts. And we should learn from the experience of St Paul and other heroes of faith on how they faced trials and still kept faith in God. St Paul had his fair share of the harshest trials. He had almost nothing and his hands had to minister to his own needs even if it was the menial work of tent making.
Allow me to share this personal testimony to show that God’s peace is so amazing and beyond understanding. I pray it will encourage the brothers and sisters who are struggling with trials right now.
Many years ago when I had a business enterprise, I once had a bad debt of 200,000 US dollars. It was almost as good as gone. I prayed for God to give me the peace. I dare not ask for the recovery of debt but rather the peace to deal with it. I knew the anxiety would definitely debilitate me. Over the next few months, I really had peace instead of turmoil. I thought about His amazing grace and the blessings I had over the years. Out of the blue, I received payment of 80% of the debt. Later I learned that the US debtor had been admitted to a mental institution due to mounting debt and bankruptcy. In another case, I bought and sold a batch of goods costing 60,000 US dollars and the parts were not made to correct specification which could not be salvaged. Again, I prayed for peace instead. Again, I received payment for it incredibly. Both situation could have wound up my enterprise.
I faced life threatening situation several times as well. I dare not say that I have the same courage to say this like St Paul : “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” But after I prayed and starting thinking about the ordeal of St Paul and other heroes of faith, my thoughts would drift to the scenarios of these heroes meeting Jesus our Lord. How would Jesus commend them ? Would He commend them as faithful servants ? What will heaven be like ? The fears dissipated and turned to excitement instead. Indeed, since we are surrounded by such a great crowd of witness, we should have the same faith and join them in traveling as exiles on earth and looking forward to this better country of God. (Heb 11 and 12). I would think about how to make the most of the time left, and turned from the feeling of weakness to renewed strength instead by the grace of God. I guess that is the comfort we often pray for others in similar situation.
Although I received a happy ending for the trials so far, it was the peace given by God in my heart to deal with the trials that is so amazing. I thought I would be so drained emotionally without any solution in sight. But God did give me this peace to move on. All thanks and glory to God. Amen.