Wednesday Morning Devotion (Worrying vs Thanks and Praise)

4Always rejoice in the Lord! Again, I say, Rejoice! 5Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Don’t let anything make you anxious, but make your requests known in prayers and petitions to God in all circumstances with thanksgiving. 7And God’s peace that is beyond all comprehension will guard your minds {lit. hearts} and thoughts in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:4-7

The other day our dog Barnabas slipped away. He’s gotten pretty good about hanging around while I sit on the porch, and so I decided to eat my lunch in a chair on the porch and let him walk around. He enjoyed himself for most of my lunch, but right at the last he slipped around the corner. By the time I had gotten myself out of the chair and gone after him, he was gone. Some neighbors brought him back a couple of hours later.

Now I presented prayers and petitions, but I didn’t do it with thanksgiving. I did it with desperation. Barnabas didn’t even have his collar on. After all, he was going to be in my sight the entire time. That dog is very important to me, and the thought of him hurt in the woods, or run over by a car is very, very disturbing.

“Don’t let anything make you anxious?” Yeah right! Fat chance! I was anxious. I was worried. I scoured the neighborhood, but the odds aren’t that good of finding a small dog. I really can’t conceive of not being worried under the circumstances. If Barnabas is in trouble, I’m going to be concerned, at least.

But that’s where God comes in, growing on us, changing the way we think and feel, making us more like him. God doesn’t merely promise peace, he promises peace that is beyond all comprehension. I can’t conceive of being peaceful under certain circumstances. It’s just beyond me. But it isn’t beyond God.

But how can I possibly get there? I admitted right at the start that I had what I regard as a perfectly comprehensible lack of peace. How can I have my mind guarded by God’s incomprehensible peace?

It’s only going to come through God’s transforming power. As we behold his likeness, we are transformed into his glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). Now how can I behold his glory? Well, I think our own concerns are like a fog that prevents us from seeing what is really going on. Presenting your petitions with thanksgiving, even when you can’t get hold of the feeling, provides a break in the fog. You have to push back the worry long enough to formulate your thanks and praise.

This thanksgiving, no matter what else I do, I’m going to thank God for his incomprehensible peace, because the type of peace I can comprehend just won’t do.

Open a window of praise so you can see Him better!

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