There was no one to stop them. They just walked right out the door. We were sitting on a bench near the front of a shoe store when a robbery took place. Our heads were down looking at the new shoes we were trying on when we suddenly we heard someone say, “Stop! Stop! You can’t do that!” Then we saw the store associate chasing a man and woman as they swiftly and forcefully walked out of the store. The store associate stopped at the door. We joined her gaze and saw them drive away. I looked around the store and realized she was the only employee there. There was no one to guard the door. It all happened so quickly. We left after the police came carrying a new realization of the fragility of our security.
The memory of this experience came to mind after reading a passage of scripture, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:7) Imagine the peace of God as your guard. This is a whole new kind of protection!
It is fairly easy for worry to walk right into our hearts and minds and steal our peace. The reality of the struggles of life can make anyone feel anxious. I heard someone say recently that we all have mental health issues because we all have a mind and we need to keep it healthy. I remember hearing about the words an older pastor said to a young pastor on the day he learned that his mother died. The elder encouraged him to remember the moment because what he had found was that for every ten people you gather with, seven of them may have a broken heart. Given our world today, you could maybe add being lonely or worn-out to the that list. At any given time, you may be that person. There could be something with you or a loved one that breaks your heart or wears you out. You may feel like you are all alone.
There is something we can do about it. Paul shares what he has learned to his friends in Philippi. (Phil 4: 5b-7) When the worry and anxiety come, we can take them to God. We are to tell them to God, with thanksgiving, knowing he will do something about it. In fact, it’s pretty amazing what he will do. It’s quite an exchange. You give God your worries and he gives you peace. Not only that, the peace he gives will guard your heart and your mind. His peace will protect you. His peace will surround you like a garrison. His peace is powerful. It is strong enough to overtake worry and anxiety. The peace of God can stop them from overcoming you because peace is stronger than fear. Behind the worry and anxiety you find fear. The peace of God will guard us with the vigilance of military personnel, proactively watching out for us. Whatever comes your way, you are not alone. There is someone at the door to defend and protect you.
Jesus says, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever… Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.” (Jn 14:16, 27)
He will be your Helper. He will guard you. He will comfort you. You will know him as peace — a living transcendent power and a sure defense, ever ready to guard your heart and your mind. The worry may still come. The anxiety may still loom at your door but you are not alone. Let the promise of peace be with you.
The photo was taken this week at a local park.