Thursday 17th January
A woman once said to me, after I had complained that I was walking slowly due to my broken leg, that I should consider the blessing of having more time to observe God’s creation and smell the roses in the gardens. What a wonderful statement of faith and acknowledgement of God’s blessings even in the hard times. See God’s grace helps us recognise His beauty and His blessing even when we feel like there is no hope in the midst of our desert. He has lavished His love on us that whatever stands in our way, although difficult at the time, will be washed away by His infinite gracious Hands. God’s desire is that we may glorify Him in whatever situation we are found in. Again it is not to say that we will not face testing times but rather that understanding our position in Christ helps us to re-evaluate our attitudes knowing that every step we take, Jesus is right by our side.
Paul in today’s verses also encourages us not to become anxious or worried about situations we face but to place our trust in the Father’s loving Hands. He starts off in verse 4 by encouraging the church of Philippi to rejoice in every circumstance. Paul believes this to be of much importance, so in typical Biblical fashion in sections of great importance, he repeats himself and says ‘again I say rejoice’. (Rejoicing doesn’t always mean we should walk about with a smile on our face but it’s an attitude of knowing God’s peace in our circumstance). However if you are like me then you would probably find this hard and feel like Paul is being unreasonable. Rejoice always? Do you know what I am going through? Well if that is you…STOP right there. Paul is not just saying this statement with a blasé and unrealistic approach to life, he is living this out in his own life because he has personally found that whatever situation he has been in, he has learnt to be content and rejoice in the Lord (verse 11-13), because he knew Christ was with him. In fact this very letter was most probably written deep down in the Roman prisons.
This may still seem a far shout I hear you say? That was ok for him but where is God in my situation? Lets look at verse 6. Paul again commands the believers not be anxious for anything or worried about everything. He simply states that all our needs, problems and desires should always be presented to God in prayer, with thanksgiving knowing that He is above our problems and is more than able to help.
There are 5 words, which I feel should belong to verse 6 instead of verse 5. “The Lord is at hand”. Now read the beginning of verse 6. If the Lord is hand in our circumstance then what cause do we have to worry about our situations? Paul describes this Fatherly care in such a way that we can only be humbled that an Almighty Creator God who has a store for the snow in the Heavens, whose Eyes light up the expanse of the skies, would care about my personal problems. In fact in verse 7 Paul puts the icing on the cake. When we present our needs before Almighty God, knowing that He is at hand, not only does He promise to answer but He gives us His perfect peace that transcends all human understanding, to guide us through our circumstances. His love and peace guard our hearts from thoughts of anxiety, fear and worry. This is how we see God’s blessings through hard times. Knowing that His grace fills our hearts with peace and that He is right there with us, holding our hands, guiding and fighting for us. What a great picture of Father God.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me..” verse 13