Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of rejoicing this year. Many planned celebrations were postponed or held as very low-key events. There also doesn’t seem to be much peace this year with protests, violence, and a country divided as the citizens prepare to go to the polls. However, this past Sunday, many congregations heard the above words from Philippians read. They almost seemed inappropriate considering the circumstances, but that is really the point. Paul writes this epistle of joy from prison and encourages the Philippians and modern-day Saints to see that joy and peace are not based on circumstances, but rooted in Christ.
The Philippians are assured that “The Lord is at hand.” These comforting words for Christians of every era drive away anxiety because we pray to a God who is near to us. New Testament scholar Stephen Fowl writes, “Paul’s affirmation that the Lord is near, both spatially and temporally, is the assurance that underpins the exhortations in 4:4-6 to joy and gentleness, to prayer and freedom from worry.” (Philippians, p. 183)
In these chaotic times, we face each day knowing that the Lord is at hand and He hears our prayers, supplications, and requests. These are times of prayer for our families, churches, and our country and our Lord has promised to hear those prayers. Our Lord is also at hand as the day of His return draws ever closer. This also brings peace which surpasses the understanding of the world because we know that the only hope for being free from the true scourge (of sin) is Jesus’ return in glory when He will make all things new. May you have joy and peace this day, not because of your circumstances, but the Lord of heaven and earth is at hand to hear your prayers and one day to transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body as citizens of heaven.
Prayer – Almighty God, You have promised to hear the petitions of those who ask in Your Son’s name. Mercifully incline Your ears to us, who have now made our prayers and supplications to You, and grant those things that we have faithfully asked according to Your will we may receive to meet our need and bring glory to You; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan