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Jo 23Isn’t it wonderful when we meet people who seem to be so at peace with God, with themselves and with the world at large? I can think of a number of folk I have met over the years who could be described in this way. And the reason I have noticed them is, no doubt, that I have longed to be so much more like them.

I grew up with a very caring mum who always did more that she should have for me. She worked hard in every area of her life—but she also worked hard at worrying. I’m sure I often gave her plenty of scope to do just that—yet sometimes it seemed to me she worried about nothing. Sadly, her fears about what might happen robbed her of her enjoyment of many things, often bringing a worried frown to her face and uncertain questions to her lips.

When our children were growing up, one of their favourite ‘Mr Men’ books was Mr Worry. Poor Mr Worry worries about everyone and everything—until he meets a wizard who promises to make sure none of the things Mr Worry is worried about will ever happen. For a whole week, Mr Worry can’t think of a single thing to worry about. But then all that changes. And, on the last page of this little book, we discover that Mr Worry, after seeing the wizard again, goes home ‘to worry about not having anything to worry about!

Now I’d be interested to know how that wizard could ensure none of those things that worried Mr Worry so much would ever happen! It’s a nice thought—but hardly realistic, after all. How much more realistic, in contrast, are the Apostle Paul’s words:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6

This does not mean that those of us who pray and trust God with our future will never encounter difficulties. In John 17:33, we read Jesus’ words to his disciples not long before he is crucified:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

This is what it’s about—peace in the midst of whatever is happening around us, knowing our God is with us and is bigger than anything the world can throw at us. Yes, at times God does rescue us out of difficult situations while, at other times, our path seems to lie through them instead. Yet we are not alone. God is with us, strengthening us and watching over us. ‘And the God of peace will be with you’, Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:9.

This is my prayer for myself for 2015—that, whatever happens with my writing and speaking, my family, my friends and the world at large, I will remain in that place of deep peace with God.

May you too find this place of deep, deep peace in God as you face the year ahead.

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