The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:5b-7
On Wednesday mornings I attend a community Bible Study known as BSF. Every week we sing three hymns during our time together. It has been years since I’ve regularly sung hymns (as printed in song books); which really has little to do with what I’m writing, but, for what it’s worth, there it is.
Yesterday we sang the hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”, and I was struck by the line “oh, the peace we often forfeit…all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” It brought to mind the passage in Philippians (quoted above) which states that the peace that surpasses all understanding is available to us, that peace which is only from God. And how do we receive that peace? By praying in and about all things.
Then our study for the week (Matthew 14) included the passage about Jesus walking on the water. And Peter walking with him:
[Jesus] said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind , he was afraid and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.Matthew 14:29-32
As soon as Peter stepped out with his eyes on Jesus he was able to walk on water, but when his vision strayed to the wind he began to sink. However, as soon as he called out to Jesus, the Lord immediately reached for him and took his hand, and Peter was able to return to the boat walking on water because he was holding on to Jesus. And when they got back into the boat the storm quieted and peace reigned; all because of the presence of Jesus. (This is also the case in the Matthew 8:26 when Jesus calmed the storm.)
In my life I have experienced the peace that surpasses all understanding, and it is a truly wonderful and blessed state. But these passages and the hymn yesterday made me wonder – how often do I forfeit that peace just because I’m not being intentional in prayer or because I let my eyes stray from Jesus to the wind that is blowing around me?
I know that in all things the hand of Christ and the peace that reigns in his presence are available; am I reaching out today to take hold of “the Lord [who] is at hand”?