(This was first published October 29, 2010 but the video is new)
God gives peace at moments that make no sense.
At times when by every right, everything emotionally should be cascading in, there can be peace. Not a denial, but an acknowledgment that yes, indeed, there is cancer, but God has a clue. Not a denial but an acknowledgment that yes, that casket holds the body of an infant daughter, but God is present.
Ah, but the peace doesn’t come because suddenly everything makes sense: “If I get cancer, then other people will understand that life is important and so my life, however short, will accomplish something.”
That kind of explaining would allow us to arrive at peace as a some rationalization of suffering. And I’m not sure that’s what Paul means when he writes,
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
I know. We want a recipe. We want to know that we will understand why things are the way they are. And in these two sentences there is no promise of understanding. There is no promise that things will work out fine.
Instead, Paul says that our hearts and our minds, those things that churn and process and spin and struggle in the middle of pain and chaos and ambiguity and inadequacy, will be guarded.
I suppose that part of the guarding comes from inviting someone else into the discussion. Knowing that someone who is capable of acting on our behalf is aware of the problem gives peace. But sometimes, nonsensical peace, incomprehensible peace, is an evidence of God, offered to rational minds in danger of spinning out of control. But, says Paul, you gotta ask.