As part of our human nature, we have a desire to understand the world around us. We naturally try to figure out how things work. In fact, there’s a website that is dedicated to showing us how planes fly, how makeup works, or 5 things you didn’t know about donuts. Yum! Did you get your free donut recently?
Our desire to understand and experience the world around us can certainly be a good thing. When we learn a new skill we can save money by doing it ourselves instead of hiring someone to do it or when we listen to a musician with an understanding of the song being performed we will have a deeper appreciation of their artistry. But, is our search for a deeper understanding of life always a good thing? I’ve found in my life that no, not always. Let me explain.
I’m sure that you’ve had circumstances in your life where you couldn’t possibly know all of the details for sure. You may never know why someone else got a promotion and you didn’t or why someone has a talent that you’d love to have, but you don’t. Other circumstances that elude our understanding are why did someone pass away so young or why did a marriage end unexpectedly. The point is, these are situations where we can’t always know for sure why life happened the way it did.
I want to clarify I’m not saying that we shouldn’t discuss tough issues, study diligently to discover and learn new things, or use our minds to their fullest capacity. In fact, a healthy discussion about those undesirable situations can be helpful. But if we aren’t careful,
we can drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out past circumstances.
Scripture tells us that our minds have limits, but here’s what’s beautiful: understanding those limits will help us live content, peaceful lives. The passage is Philippians 4:7. The apostle Paul is giving the Philippians various practices to live out their faith as they follow Jesus. You should go back and read the entire chapter; actually, you can read the entire book! Here’s Philippians 4:7
And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. – The Voice
A quick look at verse 6 and we can see that Paul is saying to the Philippians, in spite of the circumstances you are going through (that you most likely cannot completely understand), don’t worry about them, pray, and accept the “mind surpassing” peace of God. Our responsibility as followers of Jesus is to accept the peace we receive from knowing Him who holds all things together. When we do this, our hearts and minds are guarded!
Freedom! Yes, freedom! Peace. Calm. When we give up our desire to trying to understand every detail of a situation, we can rest in the peace of God that ultimately guards our hearts and our minds. So, back to the examples before. Instead of thinking over and over about why someone got a promotion that you wanted or has a talent that you’d like to have, pray that God would give you a peace that would put you in a place to understand what job he has next or what talent he has given you that you can use. Or if someone has passed away or a relationship ended, pray that God would comfort you and give you wisdom to move forward instead of patching the need to understand with “God has a plan”.
You may be walking through a difficult time in your life right now. Please, don’t spend too much time trying to understand the past. Give up the desire to understand every single detail and allow God to work through your lack of understanding. Pray for peace for the moment so that you can move forward in the path that God has for you, leaving behind those negative thoughts and emotions that are holding you back.