Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:4-7
During my childhood growing up in the 1970s and 80s in southeast Louisiana, it wasn’t that uncommon that my mother would take me to the store with her every other weekend. Occasionally, we would drive all the way into Baton Rouge and visit the former Cortana Mall. Once situated in one quarter of the cloverleaf intersection of Florida Boulevard and Airline Highway, Cortana Mall was essentially the place to go when you went to the city. Across the highway used to be a bowling alley that my church youth group would frequent, where I once bowled better than a 200 (but only once.)
Being as we lived about 30 minutes away in the country, these trips to town back in those days often felt like a huge treat to get to experience a different side of life that we didn’t experience daily in our quiet, serene lives in Pine Grove. On rare occasions as I got older, my mother would “release the leash” and let me roam the mall by myself or with a friend who was invited along in order to cure my boredom with perusing the giant clothing outlets.
However, as a younger child, I wasn’t allowed to stray far from my mother’s sight. And if I somehow wandered off and got lost, I would become fearful and cry out for her. Sometimes a store employee would see me and offer assistance with a kind smile in the hopes of calming my fears and anxieties until my mother could be located, usually only a few feet away.
Just as my mother was nearby and I was not out of her sight, in spite of my own blindness, our Abba Father is always near – His eyes ever watching and His hands ever guiding and comforting. Even when we can’t see Him, He sees you. He rejoices over you in your victories and offers comfort in the midst of your pain. Just because you don’t see Him in the midst of your darkness doesn’t mean He shut off the lights. And when you experience pain and disappointment and discouragement, He is there offering a gentle hand of peace.
But all too often, because we become fixated on our circumstances, we lean on our own pride and humanity to pull us up by the bootstraps and push through the pain and the circumstances. Yes, it is true that God gave us a brain to use and think and reason with our situations, but sometimes, we reach a breaking point where the circumstance is beyond our competencies. Our natural response is to respond with fear or frustration or anger, which blind us to the comfort that is waiting for us if we simply stop and breathe Him in.
We can rejoice in knowing, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, the Lord is near, waiting for us to crawl into His lap to comfort us as His child. While our circumstances may exceed our competencies, His peace is capable of overcoming that beyond our own understanding. When we begin with the realization that the Lord is always near, we can stand in confidence knowing that even if we don’t understand what is going on, His peace is readily available. He will help to guard our hearts and minds and remind us of the grace and love that He has for us as citizens of His Kingdom and Princes and Princesses of His realm. He will never abandon you in your pain. In fact, He comes running to our aid, pleading for you to cling to Him.
Let His peace reign in your heart and mind. Rejoice in the presence of the King of Creation! For you are a prince or princess of the Universe and He adores you. If you don’t know Him, I urge you don’t delay. He is waiting for you on pins and needles, longing for you to lift up your eyes and see Him for the truth that He is. While the door to the Kingdom is narrow, and path to the gate is difficult, the door is open to anyone who would walk through it. The rewards of Kingdom citizenship far outweigh the riches of this world.
If you want to know more about what it means to be part of the Kingdom, I’m just a quick click and an email away. There is nothing more important to me in this world than knowing that you know my Abba. If you don’t know Him and want to know more, don’t wait. Run! Peace to you, my friends, from the Father of all Creation.