And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
I. GOD ANSWERS THE PRAYER OF ANXIETY WITH A GIFT OF PEACE, The promise of peace follows close upon the exhortation to convert our anxieties into prayers. The result of such conduct is not the immediate removal of the source of care: the old trouble may still be with us, and the dreaded danger may not yet be averted; but we have an inward peace and acquiescence in the assurance that all must be well in our Father's hands. Thus the prayer is answered, though not exactly as we expected.
1. This peace is given by God. It is not the product of our own reasonings, nor of altered circumstances, but of Divine grace.
2. It is directly dependent on communion with God; for it is not so much a blessing bestowed in response to prayer as the natural consequence of approaching God in prayer. As we turn from the fretting cares of life to talk with God, we enter a new serene atmosphere above the tumults of earth, and the peace of it steals into our souls.
3. It is a peace like that of God himself. Given by God, growing out of communion with God, it has the character of God. It is a solid, deep, pure, true, lasting peace, quite different from any peace the world can give (John 14:27).
II. THIS PEACE IS BETTER THAN ANY INTELLECTUAL SATISFACTION. We are impatient for an explanation of the mysteries of providence. We would know why God has dealt with us so differently from what we had expected. We would have the veil of the future uplifted that our anxious hearts might be set at rest. But it is not possible. We are left to grope among many dark secrets while we learn to walk by faith. Nevertheless, if we have not the understanding, the peace is better. If we cannot know all, we can live trustfully with an inward quiet. Better a calm in midnight darkness than a storm in the glare of noon. For our training it is well not to know many things that God has mercifully hidden from our imperfect comprehension. If we can trust God in the darkness and be at peace in our own souls, we have the highest blessing.
III. THIS DIVINE PEACE PREVENTS OUR MINDS FROM WANDERING FROM CHRIST. It is represented as a sentinel on the watch, guarding our hearts and thoughts, and keeping them in Christ. The cares of this world tempt us from Christ with vexing doubts and distracting claims. In peace of heart our thoughts return to him. No understanding of providence and its mysteries would thus settle the Soul on the true foundation of its rest. That would not guard our hearts and thoughts because it is not the ideas of our minds but the spirit of our lives, the tone and temper and character of them, that dissuades our affections and thoughts from wandering from Christ. This, therefore, is the great commendation of the Divine peace which is given in response to the prayer of anxiety, It does not remove the trouble that causes the anxiety, but it prevents that trouble from driving us from Christ, and so secures to us the supreme blessedness of abiding in him. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.