Mornings are a fearful time for me. I awake with a sense of foreboding that makes me dread the coming day. Each morning the feeling is there and it’s become so prevailing that I’m hardly aware of it. It just feels like me. It feels like my life is bad when it’s not. And I find that I have to identify it every morning. I have to put it in it’s place; to bring perspective or it will guide my day and bring me down.
I think it’s the residue of a really bad time; of my dark days. A desperate time where I was often caught off guard by the meanness of life. A time when I was always clenched, tense, and vigilant for trouble that always seem to surprise me nonetheless. A time when I had few options and scant resources to fend off the unexpected. Those times have passed, but they have left scars. They’ve left a residue of fear that greets me every morning.
While the morning fear has become a reminder of my dark days, it has also become a reminder that, though the Lord’s mercy was not abundant, it was sufficient. They were new every morning. Great was His faithfulness to me.
Philippians 4:6–7 (NAS): 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
When I felt my heart giving way in the dark, I clung to this passage. I remembered it every morning, and His peace did come. I got just enough to get me through the day. It didn’t happen miraculously either. I was never overcome by feelings of power that came like a flood to wash away the fear. I fact, the sufficiency of His grace was usually realized in hindsight.
The great contrast in the passage is between my anxiety and His peace. My anxiety was damaging my heart and mind, but His peace would guard them; guard them from my anxiety. Some people see the command not to be anxious as essential, but the context belies that sense. The sense seems to be, that when you’re anxious, bring your anxieties to the Lord by prayer and you’ll find His surpassing peace will be there to guard your hearts and minds.
It’s not a passage that promises peace for those strong enough to stop worrying. No, it’s hope for those like me, who need peace in our times of weakness and fear. This assurance comes from the “in Christ Jesus,” and the end of the verse. In Him, it’s the weak who find His strength. His strength is made perfect in weakness.
I share this with so you will stop trying to muster the strength to face your fears. You’re not the hero of this story, He is. Instead, every morning, seek in prayer the God who’s peace surpasses all comprehension. And you’ll find His peace will indeed guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.