Philippians 4:4-7:- Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (ESV)
After this time of high stress business, I went self-employed to gain a better work/life balance. This left me with time to help being a youth worker. We regularly had a large group at my local Church of England church.
The youth needed God, and apparently so did I. God was leading me into His presence, one step ahead of them, as my co-leaders and I helped them to grow away from the mores of the Eighties humankind, and into a safer place in Jesus’ salvation.
My internal pain persisted, so my doctor sent me to hospital to have a barium meal scan, for suspected ulcers. One of the lads was a gifted pianist, so on the morning of the scan, I went around to his house for a time of prayer and praise together, seeking God’s hand on my life, before I went.
As I sat there awaiting my turn on the radiographer’s bench with a shopping basket on my knee full of my clothes, I prayed for God to be there with me as He promises to be. In this state of meditation and much to my surprise, the Holy Spirit arrived and touched my body with a sensation akin to a deluge of warm water being poured over me.
There was no noise or fuss, but I was aware of God’s touch on my life for good. So I sat there with nothing on but a smile and thin cotton cover with a drafty exit! The radiographer arrived to see me beaming away, like a small child with candy floss, and she even looked at me quizzically. Who knows what she thought!
The outcome for my body was that the doctor told me there were no ulcers, no nothing, and I have not had any pain since.
The outcome for my faith was the understanding that the verses from Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV), put to music by Ralph Vaughan Williams, which I used to sing as a choirboy, were significant:
“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.”
I can still sing it today, if in a lower key!
However falteringly, I am growing in understanding that God loves us to take Him at His Word, and to read His Word. This is because He longs for His people to grow in our understanding and relationship with Him in Jesus! Ok, this time, He had healing for me; another time there might be a different outcome. There definitely will be, one day, but this will not change His promise. Always there will be “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” available to all, wherever they find themselves, who call on the Name of Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, thank You so much for Your faithfulness shown towards us, despite our lack of courage, understanding and faith. Thank You, too, that, no matter what the outcome for our bodies in this world, Your peace is always available, even to ones like me who are intimidated by our circumstances. Please increase our faith in Your love for us, In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Rod Marshall Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
(To access the entire “Be Not Afraid” devotional series, please click here.)