Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry 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 4:4-7
Mary Louise and I headed to the doctor just the other day … another step on her miraculous journey of healing. As I drove, she read from our Advent devotional, A. W. Tozer’s From Heaven. Part of the theme was grace upon grace upon grace upon grace.
And the question became, “Was this a day of grace?!”
Let me set the scene … This was a Wednesday afternoon. Tuesday night I’d slept at the hospital with Mary Louise’s father – heart cath, two stents. Then I’d spent Wednesday morning running uptown to court to help with an unresolving custody case. Then I hurried back to the hospital to help my father-in-law get home. Then I rushed to my house to pick up Mary Louise for her doctor’s appointment. On the way uptown, we hustled first to the pharmacy to bring medications to her dad.
And we had a sudden choice: Do we focus on the busyness, craziness, exhaustion, and worry? Exhausted? Yes. Mary Louise’ body is exhausted from major surgery, and I’d just slept fitfully on a hospital couch. And worried? Sure. Though Mary Louise’s father’s heart cath went well, we’re legitimately worried about him. So … do we focus on the busyness and craziness? Or on the grace upon grace? (In fact, have you ever had a season when it’s hard to see the grace?)
Can I tell you the truth, as we drove downtown busyness, worry, and exhaustion were the furthest things from our minds. We were reading about God’s provision through Jesus Christ – grace – and we started thinking about what we’re thankful for.
- Thanksgiving festivities – just the week before.
- Three boys, two daughters-in-law, and three grandkids.
- Our church family (including all the recent kindnesses bestowed).
- The beauty of that fall day.
- The privilege to worship God in this season.
And suddenly busyness, surgery pain, and worry weren’t even on the radar.
And that’s the precise prescription from today’s passage in Philippians. Circumstances can obviously rock our boats and threaten to overwhelm us. And that’s why God’s Word calls us to learn daily survival tactics before the real trials come. To conquer the worries of the world, God advises us to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. Rejoice. Pray. Give Thanks. Rejoice. Pray. Give Thanks. When we do that, and in spite of occasional circumstances, we begin to find a peace that passes all understanding. And we see God’s grace upon grace upon grace upon grace.
In Christ’s Love,
a guy who spent the end
of the day, eating a
home cooked meal
provided by a friend,
and going to church
to pray with our
(It was a great day.
God was present.)