One of the most-used apps on our smartphones is Google Maps. Most of us cannot remember what we did before GPS-based maps existed on our phones. We may be nervous heading toward a place that we have never been to before, but with Google Maps on our phones, we can confidently venture out and find our way in any foreign city. Could this confidence be an illustration of the kind of rest God wants to give us with His prophetic timetable?
Sometimes, however, we may enter the wrong address into our apps, or we may just decide not to follow the directions because we think we know a shortcut. In either case, we may end up somewhere we didn’t want to be — and most definitely not in a restful frame of mind, either.
Read Philippians 4:4-6. What is Paul saying here to us about the way to have true rest, true peace, even amid a harried and painful world?
In this passage, Paul is not saying to rejoice, always, in all the trials that you are facing. Instead He is saying, “Rejoice in the Lord always.” No matter our present situation, no matter what trials we are facing, if we dwell on God, on His goodness, His love, and on His sacrifice on the cross for us, we can rejoice in Him and have peace for our weary souls.
Just the very tone of the texts implies rest, peace, and a transcendent hope of something beyond this world.
Imagine, too, the kind of rest for our souls that we would have if, indeed, we could be “anxious for nothing.” This hardly seems realistic for anyone in this world (even Paul had plenty of worries), but again, knowing that a loving God is ultimately in control and will save us into His kingdom can, surely, help us put the things that we are anxious about into proper perspective.
The “Lord is at hand”? That is, He is always close to us, and that as soon as we close our eyes and rest in the sleep of death, the next thing we know is the return of Christ.
No question, life is full of tensions, trials, and struggles. None of us escape them; certainly the apostle Paul didn’t, either (see 2 Corinthians 11:1-33). Nevertheless, his point is to tell us that even with all that we endure now, we can rejoice in what we have been given in Christ and, indeed, we can find rest for souls, even now.
|Read Philippians 4:4-6 again. In what ways can you apply these wonderful words to your experience right now in whatever trials and tribulations you are facing?|