As the school year begins and summer has drawn to a close, feelings of peace and contentment
tend to disappear. As homework consumes hours upon hours and due dates clutter our minds,
peace appears distant. It seems impossible that a few short weeks ago, the sun was beating down
and freeways were dotted with campers and RVs. Now, school buses have taken over the roads,
and days seem far too short comparing to the crazy length of to-do lists.
In the little things and in the momentous, life-altering moments, God wants all people to look to
Him and be able find His peace. Whether anxiety appears the moment your alarm beeps in the
mornings or overtakes your mind while doing algebra homework, God wishes that we would
look past the waves of worry. He wants us to see who He is and benefit from the peace that He so
desperately wants to bestow upon his followers.
Philippians 4:6-7 reads as follows, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.”
This verse is written on the covers of many Bibles and painted on signs in many Christian homes.
Read on its own, the message is indeed striking; however, it is often removed from the context
Paul intended. The surrounding verses encourage rejoicing ‘for the Lord is near.’ They command
our thoughts to be consumed with ‘whatever is true, noble, right, pure, admirable, excellent, or
praiseworthy.’ The passage ends with stating that, if we listen to Paul’s exhortations and fill our
minds with Godly things, we find peace.
Unlike what some people may deduce from verses 6-7, God does not immediately reward our
worrisome prayers in order to allow our hearts to be consumed with His peace. We must keep
our eyes fixed on Him, not the world. We must protect our minds from the dizzying thoughts of
projects and tasks, and, instead, fill it with thoughts of who our Father is and who we belong to.
Instead of feeling burdened with tasks, we must change our outlook and rejoice in the constant of
our God’s love. He is always there. He will not walk away. No matter the test grade, the
comments our teachers give us, or which questions we answered in class, our heavenly Father
will be there. He asks us to not be anxious, to not be consumed with stress, but rather
to fill our mind with whatever is of His kingdom and to pray in every situation. Instead of taking
deep breaths, looking within, hiding our struggles, or trying to calm nerves on our own, God
commands us to turn our eyes to Him and present our innermost struggle. Our
heavenly Father is the Prince of Peace and the King of the World, and He desperately wants to
fill our hearts and souls with peace. We would be foolish not to bring before Him our stress,
our anxiety. He wants to take it away, but first we must let go.
So, as each morning dawns and the school year carries on, let go of your burdens. Give them to
the Lord in prayer and accept the gift of peace. Let it consume you and allow you to keep your
eyes focused on the things of Heaven and not the things of this world that can be consuming.
Rely on Him. Lean on His strength. Accept His peace.
Amaya Leiby (15) is on staff at CLM/TPS Chapel and a student at TPS