I know a lot of people who suffer from a noticeable deficiency of peace. I’m one of them sometimes. I’m not talking about a peace that equates to having a day with nothing on the calendar and plopping down on the sofa with a cup of hot tea and a good book. Not that this doesn’t sound inviting, but let’s be honest—that’s a rare occasion for most of us. The peace I’m talking about doesn’t require a mountain cabin or a getaway weekend. It can be found anywhere, even in the most hectic moments and places of your life.
It is gratitude that helps us find the peace we so often look for.
If we were sitting across the table from each other, you could tell me what’s stealing your peace right now, probably without even having to think hard about it. You may be grieving a loss that never settles far from your conscious thoughts. You may be crying yourself to sleep at night over a situation with a son or daughter that is beyond your ability to control—a failing marriage, a little one undergoing diagnostic medical tests, perhaps open rebellion against God and against your parenting decisions. Maybe you’re facing some health issues of your own, or your income just isn’t meeting your monthly expenses, or your church is in turmoil over some hot-button issue.
We know that we can and should pray about these matters. But praying is not all that we can and should do. “Do not be anxious about anything,” the apostle Paul wrote, “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” (Philippians 4:6-7).
To put it even more simply: In every situation prayer plus thanksgiving equals peace.
When prayer teams up with gratitude, when we open our eyes wide enough to see God’s mercies even in the midst of our pain, and when we exercise faith and give Him thanks even when we can’t see those mercies, He meets us with His indescribable peace. It’s a promise.
Rev. Connie Barnett, St. Luke’s Asbury Campus