Did you ever hear the phrase “the peace that passes all understanding at church as a kid? Its exact meaning has always eluded me. Yet it really isn’t a mystery.
It’s the peace that passes all understanding.
I have been praying for peace since I ever began praying. It’s peace I’d tag in a request to the finale of my nightly prayers.
God bless Mom and Dad, Zac, Jacob, Rachel,
Grandma, Grandpa, GG, Aunt Cathy, Aunt Christie, Aunt Sandy,
Uncle John, Uncle Lee, Uncle Brett, Bethanie, Michael, Daniel, Aaron, Megan,
Uncle Jeff, Aunt Melanie, Wynter, Stacey,
Grams, Grandpa Pete, Great Grandpa Elsts, Joyce,
Aunt Michelle, Uncle Shawn, Aunt Debbie, Uncle Jason,
Uncle Phil, Andy, Greg, Adam, Sammy, Adrian, Amanda, Hayden….
and for peace and protection for everyone everywhere at every time.
The childhood prayers I required of myself had me mention every person I knew, every relative, every friend, everyone. And to that I added a prayer for peace because peace was the stillness of the heart which I craved, and which I wanted. I would have it. It was that exact thing that gave you the strength to exist during a day when everything was working against you, when everything was seeking to destroy you.
But this peace I was praying for was not a peace that could pass all understanding.
I prayed for a serene spirit. I prayed for calmness during a storm in my life. I prayed for the still small voice to speak to me. These hard and fast moments of peace came to me. And I could explain them.
The kind of peace I have known is one that has flitted into and out of my life. Peace I could grab like an apple when I wanted it. It’s been a kind of tangible peace, one that I can point to and say there it is. I’m at peace or I’m not. These have been moments I’ve prayed for and received. Never had I prayed for the ongoing existence of peace, a peace that passes all understanding. A peace that lifts you to life. A peace that you actually live in.
Yet I’m not sure if anyone really wants to pray for the experience that delivers the peace that passes all understanding.
Neither do I know if you have to go through something terrible and tragic to know it.
But I think we sometimes pray for something smaller than what God wants to give us. He wants to provide peace that allows us to live lastingly, not just for this second.
What I know is today the moment of peace I have always known has stretched into more than a moment. It’s an in-and-out breathing, it’s the motion of going from this second to the next to the next. It’s issuing forth faster than I can catch it. Marvelously. It comes out and it’s overflowing, and while I can’t catch it, I can see it, feel it, know it, and be far more alive in it than I have ever been before.
Today I know the peace that passes all understanding.
It makes no sense that I should say I am fine and to mean it. It makes no scientific sense that I literally feel the prayers of countless others who have added me to their own prayer finales. How can we feel the things that we cannot see? What is that?
This is my experience of your faith. Your prayers. I am surrounded by a cloud of witnesses from now, from ancient times, and from all the prayers in between. I am being prayed for by people known to me, unknown to me, now, from ages ago and from ages to come. And in this crazy, inexplicable, mystical moment, I know the peace that passes all understanding. And it continues to come to pass with every prayer you usher forth.
I feel layer after layer of peace touching me. This peace is not the absence of chaos. It’s not a feeling a warmth in my heart. It’s a gift. It’s a promise. And it’s the result of the combined effectual prayer of the many, of YOU, which has risen and settled right down next to me, over me, and in me.