Giving Thanks: Finding the Peace of God

This is the second repost from November of 2010.  Hope that you all have a Thanksgiving filled with blessing.

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.  Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. – Psalm 95:1-2

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:5-7

In one of my favorite short films, Boundin’, by the geniuses at Pixar Studios, the main character is a lamb experiencing the humiliation of shearing for the first time.  Prior to this experience, his identity was rooted in how people perceived and treated him, so when his lovely coat is stripped away, he is unprepared for the laughs and giggles of his fair weather friends.  Fortunately, wisdom comes in the form of a Jackalope who gets the sheep’s head in the right place by showing him that nothing has really changed about who the sheep is inside.  The young sheep finds a way to be at peace in his changing circumstances and the viewer is wishing they had a jackalope to come get their head in the right place.

It is hard to be thankful when we are plagued by anxiety.  We tend to shift into survivor mode when anxiousness and fear take the helm.  That really doesn’t help us become “more than conquerors.”  I don’t believe that God desires us to choose between fight or flight when faced with the challenges of this world and our own sinfulness.  I do believe there is a peace that allows us to face even the worst of all possible events in our lives with boldness and even joy.  But just like that little lamb, we need to get our head in the right place.

Paul’s admonition to “present your requests to God” is tempered by an overarching attitude of thanksgiving.  This is critical for us to understand as His children, for we often wait to give thanks after the fact.  Paul is putting forth the idea that we need to lead with thanksgiving; to be grateful for what the Lord will do.  This gets our head in the right place – looking forward to hope and the unfailing promises of God.

What is it that you hope for?  What are the anxieties that keep you from living in the peace of God?  Don’t wait for a jackalope to come along with rhyming platitudes to help you out.  There is one who understands our suffering and the way out.  Put your hope in Him and pray with thanksgiving for His providence, healing and help in your time of need.

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