When was the last time you praised God because he did not give you what you asked for?
Paul encouraged the Philippians to praise God for whatever they didn't have, for whatever was going wrong, and for whatever challenged them. "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" the apostle writes in Philippians 4:4.
The job you were praying for goes to someone else. Rejoice…always!
The loved ones who lived nearby but now have moved away. Rejoice…always!
The doctor confirms there is no cure. Rejoice…always!
Always? Yes, always.
How can that be? What would motivate us to praise God for what is obviously a problem?
Grace brings peace
Read on in Philippians 4. "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" (4:6,7).
The grace that is guaranteed in the forgiveness and adoption that Jesus gives us produces peace. Peace because grace assures that our Father can only bring good into our lives. Peace because grace assures that God's promises to bless us cannot be broken.
We may not understand what our Father is doing in our lives when our plans don't line up with his plans, but Jesus' empty tomb is the rock-solid proof that our Father's plans are always better than ours. That's why grace's peace "transcends all understanding."
Bathe yourself of that peace. Let thoughts about peace in Christ Jesus guard your heart and mind. Learn to praise God for everything that seems wrong in your life.