The Garment of Praise for the Spirit of Heaviness

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 7
"Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your
The peace of God instead of earthly care! What a blessed substitute! How infinite God's peace! How innumerable our cares! And yet the heart and mind that is burdened by care may find perfect relief in the enjoyment of the peace of God.
Now, what is the secret? How can this relief—and far more than relief—be found? To inure oneself to pain, as the Stoics of old, is far short of the peace of God. Anyone can understand the effort of the philosopher, who sets his teeth and bravely determines to master the ills of life; but to become possessed, to be kept, or guarded, or garrisoned as a fortress held by power unconquerable, of the peace of God amid sorrows and tears and difficulties, is altogether beyond comprehension. It is none the less true.
Let us examine our passage: " Be careful for nothing!"
The word "nothing" covers the whole range of wilderness anxieties without omitting one. It does not include sin, far from it, for the simple reason that sin is in no wise contemplated in this epistle. It is not proper to the experience of the Christian, though, alas! every true believer realizes its presence, and needs to be on constant guard against its subtle workings. Sin is abnormal to Christian experience—not impossible, but not normal. It is confessed and judged just on that very account.
The child of God should be most careful about sin, but apart from that he should be careful about nothing—no thing!
"But in everything," here is the blessed remedy: " by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God."
This is exercise, deep, earnest and precious. It is not carelessness nor indifference. There is prayer; there is supplication; there is making requests known to God; and there is the blending of thanksgiving with every prayer. This signifies close personal dealing with God.
" In everything," no matter how small, nor how great or complex, let each request of the burdened heart be laid before Him.
The Bible teems with instances of prayerful men, who spread all kinds of requests before God, from kings on their thrones to prisoners in chains, and never was a deaf ear turned to the lowly and believing suppliant.
Supplication is prayer intensified; it is importunity; its root idea is the sense of want; it is illustrated in the Prodigal Son. The word is oft-times used by the Apostle Paul; but it must carry no legal, or cringing, or selfish element; it must be sustained by thanksgiving; for remember that the Christian has received infinitely more than he can ever request. His blessings far exceed his greatest wants. God loves a thankful suppliant, and in this happy spirit the requests are made known to One who assuredly knows all about them, but who waits for the cries of the wearied child. so that He may pour in the flood of His own incomprehensible peace. As God's peace enters care departs; the soul is tranquilized. No direct answer may have been gathered—the thorn may remain in the flesh—but the heart and mind are garrisoned by the deep, eternal calm that marks the throne on high. See the reflection of that calm as it shone in the face of Stephen; see it in the words of Paul: "I am ready to be offered"; recall it in the bold language of the three men who had to face the fiery furnace of Nebuchadnezzar, when they said: " We are not careful to answer thee in this matter... We will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." And witness the Son of God as their companion in that fiery ordeal.
Ay, and thousands of others of lesser fame rise to bear brilliant testimony in lives of labor for Christ or on beds of pain; in scenes of tumult or amid the bitter worries of daily desert life to the reality of that wonderful peace of God, which, weak and failing as they have been, has garrisoned heart and mind for days and months and years of varied pilgrim experiences.
This is perhaps one of the very finest and most exquisite visible proofs of the genuineness of the faith of Christ. May reader and writer know the depths of God's peace better, and may that wonderful peace, as the result of prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, bring conscious relief to the heart, and brightness to the spirit, so that our step may be quickened and our very face made to reflect a little more of the glory of that place where alone the peace of God can be found.