(Originally posted on our former blog site on 8/22/2013)
For as long as I have read Philippians 4:7 (And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus) I have translated it to mean that the peace itself could not be understood. That the concept of God’s peace is just plain indescribable.
For many, this verse means exactly that but for me, well... In light of recent events I have come to know this verse to have a much deeper meaning, a deeper truth to stand on. That sometimes it isn’t the peace that’s indescribable but life itself. That when the circumstances or situations you are facing offer you little to no understanding, peace still comes. That it trumps our need to have all of our questions answered, that before we have it all figured out, we can still walk in peace.
This is encouraging when you are facing big decisions and have questions like "who", "what", "where" or "when" (like when trying to find your purpose, deciding which college to attend, knowing whether or not to get peanut or regular M&M’s) but there is another set of questions that is much harder to leave unanswered. To accept the peace without understanding. They are the questions of “why”.
Why do bad things happen to good people?
Why did God allow someone this world so desperately needed, including me, to die? Why did she only get 47 years of life? Why was my faith not enough? Why keep praying? Why still believe in miracles? If God can heal, then why didn’t He heal her?
The questions of "why" are often the cause for many Christians to lose faith altogether; because these questions will never be answered to our liking or to the extent that we think we need them to be. The answers will never be good enough to replace what was lost. I am facing the darkest times of my life right now and I can tell you that the answers are not, and will never be, “enough”.
The only comfort I find is when I allow myself to move beyond understanding and accept the peace.
The peace that guards my heart and mind. The peace that reminds me of the words in Proverbs 3:5-6 to trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean NOT on your own UNDERSTANDING. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. The peace that… surpasses… understanding.
When Jesus was being crucified He hung between two men.
The first man looked at Jesus and asked Him “if…then why”. If you are the son of God, then why can’t you call angels down to save you? Many of us can relate to this man. If you think of the brevity of the situation then you know why he asked such a thing. Jesus had done miracles on earth. Raised the dead, fed five thousand with a child’s lunch, opened the eyes of the blind, healed the sick; unbelievable things. Pulling Himself off of a cross in which he was only held up by three wooden nails was nothing in comparison to all of these, so then why? Why did He have to stay there? If He is the son of God, then why? If He is capable then why?
The second thief didn’t care of the reasons why, even though I am sure he thought of them too. Instead the thief asked to join Jesus in heaven. If everything He said was true, then no matter his lack of answers- he wanted what Jesus had promised. The first man asked for understanding while the second man asked for eternal life.
The first man looked at his situation while the second looked at his Savior.
I can’t say that in this moment I feel much like the second thief. In my heart, I want to. I want to rejoice that Pastor Lori is whole and complete and walking with Jesus. That she won the ultimate prize. That this was the best for her even if it was what feels like the worst for us. Even if it was not what we set our faith out for. I want to REALLY believe this, but right now it is a truth that I am not fond of. I am not ok. I am not rejoicing… yet.
I may not get my answers here on earth, you may not either for whatever situation you are facing, and we have to be willing to accept that. There are just some things that will never be understood. We only see a small part of the greater picture and it isn’t our job to always know why. It is our job to trust and be led by God, and He in His goodness allows peace to come in spite of our lack of answers. Because the peace surpasses understanding.
Life may not always be good but God is. Trust Him. He can be trusted.
Ephesians 3:1-4 To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance;