“And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
In this moment, I can only dream of having the kind of faith an imprisoned St. Paul expresses in this letter to the Philippians. In an anxious age in an anxious country—whether the first-century Roman Empire or the United States today—people need this kind of faith. Paul’s soothing words belie the difficulties he endured. The miracle is that even while he’s in prison, he sustains his spiritual freedom.
Instead of reaching for the peace that passes all understanding, too many, myself included, accept whatever peace they can get, most often through distraction and wishful thinking. My faith in life’s power to change me for the better is often supplanted with getting what I want. Faith’s development depends on being grateful for what I have, for what comes my way and what I am willing to endure.
Most commonly miracles arrive as transformative experiences. Transformation is on its own timeline. Like Paul, sometimes it comes in a blinding flash of heavenly light. More often transformation is an evolutionary process. If you’re fixated on being in control and being miserable when you’re not, you’re going to miss the miracles that are constantly materializing.
In these weeks between Easter and Pentecost, the Church is in an in-between time. I have decided to live intentionally in this in-between time, subjecting myself to a living rhythm that alternates between waiting, fulfillment and disappointment, disintegration and more waiting. During these weeks of Eastertide, my mind and my heart naturally go to the garden. Overwintered bulbs, perennials and trees are coming back to life, and new plants are going into the ground. Many will prosper during the growing season, while others will not. Many of the things I hope for will come to be, and others will not.
Even as the weather can’t decide whether it’s winter or spring, I’ll be attentive to how things develop, using them as a metaphor for the continuing education of my faith.
May you come in your way to experience the peace that passes all understanding.