Transcends all understanding

Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

As a pastor I have seen people at their best, and I’ve seen people at their worst. It is the reality of my job; but, I am most surprised at times by the strength and character I find in those who put their trust in God. Insurmountable odds; yet, there is peace. Unbelievable grief; yet, there is peace. Many times I have done a funeral and heard the comments of those around, “I don’t know how they are doing it. How are they putting one foot in front of the other?” God says we won’t understand it but He will give us what we need to get through the really tough moments of our lives if we rely on Him.

Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.”

What do you do when your world is falling apart? How do you deal with the crisis that seems crippling?

Tragedy does not discern race, age, education, or social status. It gives little warning and comes into our lives regardless of whether we know God or we don’t know God. For some people it visits more frequently than others.

My heart is broken today and my community’s heart is as well. We lost to severe tragedy three people – all with families – all with friends – all with promise for a beautiful future – all with hope for tomorrow.

How do you handle unthinkable tragedy?  That’s the question I contemplate today.  My friend is dead.  In fact, three of my friends are dead, all shot as a result of a foolish act of rage.  Two other friends are recovering from gunshot wounds.  Families I desperately love are reeling under the throes of grief.  Two children have lost both their parents.  How does one handle the loss of parents, a sibling, a child, a friend?

All these effects were caused by a senseless, staggering, nefarious choice.  So how do I and those I love respond?  What are we to think?  How are we to work through the heart wrenching pain?

It is in moments like these that one must face the ultimate realities of life.  Unanswerable questions flood our minds and overwhelm our emotions.  Fears grip our hearts, and in the gut wrenching hours that follow, we come face to face with what really matters in life.

Today, I challenge you to never take a single moment for granted.  Relish each one.  Celebrate every victory.  Passionately embrace every friendship.  Take the time to express love to your family.

Sometimes, you don’t realize the value of life until you are encompassed by death.  In those crushing moments of incredible grief when in a moment life as you know it changes, you come face to face with what really matters.  Repeatedly, we have learned it; it’s relationships, first with God and then with those we love.

I find myself unable to answer my own questions in this overwhelming moment, much less the questions of others.  In fact, the emotional challenges make me feel fatigue.

Yet, I find security, rest, and peace internally in God’s Word and in relationships.  I still have questions.  But none of them remove the awareness of the presence of God and the blessedness of His touch in my heart.  What is more, the embrace of friends helps sustain me.  Just like others, I face an imperfect world filled with imperfect people who do amazingly stupid things.  But, in the midst of pain pushed upon us by the circumstances we face, there is joy in knowing a God who cares and feeling His love expressed through those around us.

“…He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6


2 responses to “Transcends all understanding

  • Sally Peek

    So comforting, thank you Pastor. God Bless.

  • Larry and Virginia

    Larry and I really worried for the sadness you must have had during this terrible time with you being so close to these families! We realize you have your mind and heart just where they need to be, we will keep you in our prayers along with the families of this sad event. Your message also makes us stronger in our faith. We thank God every day for our families and friends. We thank God for you and the church. We feel recent events and opportunities has changed our personal relationship with our God. We live every day being so blessed and thankful. The Ellington’s

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