A Standard (continued)
Anxiety and peace are exact opposites. If we are anxious, we are defeated. If we are peaceful, we are victorious. They are mutually exclusive. If I am anxious, I can not be thankful and peaceful. If I am thankful and peaceful, I cannot be anxious and worried. Are we willing to take those words just as God gave them and not as we would interpret them y our own experience? J. Hudson Taylor said, "There should be only one circumstances to us in life, and that is God." There never should be a second cause in the life of any Christian. God controls everything.
Then look at that third "impossible." "The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep [guard] your hearts and minds [thoughts] through Christ Jesus?. That peace of God that defies all understanding has nothing whatever to do with the circumstances about us. It is an inward thing. It does not depend at all upon anything outward. It is an inward experience, no matter what the outward environment or circumstance. We may have a "peace" ... which passeth all understanding" - something supernatural, something that absolutely cannot be accounted for in any other way except that it comes from God. And that dos pass all understanding.
Do we have it? Perhaps someone says, "That sounds very nice, but as a matter of fact, I just don't believe it is possible, and I don't know of anybody who ever had that kind of peace."
Because of experiences I have had, I always shrink from giving a personal testimony. Often I have had people come up to me and say, "Well, that's all right for you. You stand up there and tell those thing. You don't have anything to do but read your Bible and stand up and tell other people about it." They seem to think I have never experienced any of the things I talk about. many people have spoken to me that way. However, here is a bit of personal testimony about how Philippians 4:6, 7 was made very real to me one time. I have the deepest conviction that those three impossibles can be made possible, if we will just do what the Lord tells us to do.
I was in north China. It was summer and was very hot. I was living in a little cottage near the seashore. I was called to go to Soochow, a two-day journey by boat, to lead a conference there. As I stood on the porch of the little cottage, I could look across the bay and see Chinwngtao, the place from which I would take my boat for Soochow. It looked so near, so I thought, "Why do I have to go by mule or by chair over to Peteiho and then take the train into Chinwangtao?" It would take me at least three or four hours, and it looked as though I could get over there in an hour. A friend had come up from Shanghai, and she had taken a fishing boat from Chinwangtao. She had reached my cottage very nicely, but she came on a day when the sea was quiet.
I had to engage a boat and the boatmen several days beforehand. These fishing boats were nothing but glorified tubs - enlarged tubs like those we used to wash in. There was enough room for my small steamer trunk, with me sitting on the trunk, and for the boatmen to stand and row with their oars. In a wonderful way the Lord led me to engage three boatmen instead of two. I did not know why at the time, but He did.
They were engaged to come on the day that I had to get my boat in Chinwangtao for Soochow. When I awakened that morning, the sky was very cloudy and dark, and a storm was brewing, but I had to go. I had to cross the bay, for the boat was now the only way I could get there in time. I got into that little boat, and we were just a little way from the shore when the boat began to bob up and down, just like an eggshell - an empty eggshell at that. We were halfway across the bay when a cloudburst came and flooded our boat. Then I saw why we needed the third boatman. He had to bail the water out. If he had not been there to do that, we would have gone straight down to the bottom of the sea.
The three boatmen were unsaved men, and they shrieked at the top of their voices. Any split second a wave could have come over the side of the boat and taken it right down or have turned it over, and we would all have drowned.
I had been talking to those boatmen about the Lord and about how He would protect us as we went across the bay. It is easy enough to talk about such things when one is near the shore and does not know how bad it will become out where the waves are high. Since I had talked with them about God's protection, I prayed, "Lord, give me something out of Thy Word, just for this moment."
He gave me Philippians 4:6, 7. Think of the Lord's giving me those verses just at that time! Think of all the other verses He might have given me. But He gave me those. "In nothing be anxious; 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 guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus."
I took God at His Word. He did not fail me. Never at any other time have I known the meaning of those verses as I knew it then. There was not a trace of anxiety. I had the peace of God that passes all understanding. I had never had such peace that passes all understanding, utterly unaccounted for, as I had it out there on that water. God was absolutely true in fulfilling that bit of His Word to me. He can and will make that verse true to you too.
God will not ask us to go through these terrifically difficult things every day. But praise Him for the day that He does take us through them in order to make us the kind of servants for Him we have never been before. Then we can stand and speak to those to whom we are giving the Word with a conviction that is unshakable. God's "impossibles" are absolutely possible, if we take Him at His Word.
Victory is ours when Christ is all in all to us. Paul revealed that to us in Philippians. First, Christ is our sufficiency: "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain". He is sufficient for life, He is sufficient for death, and He is sufficient for all in between.
Second, Christ is our satisfaction. He was Paul's satisfaction. Paul was willing to lose all things that he might win Christ.
Third, Christ was his strength: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me".
Fourth, Christ was his supply: "My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus". Christ was Paul's all in all. Is He yours?