The “piece of cod that surpasses all understanding,” Swedes talk about is lutefisk. It’s an apt description, but the whole thing is a pun from this bible verse:
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)
- What is the “peace of God?”
- How does one attain it?
- What does “surpasses all understanding” really mean?
The “peace of God” means a peace that is given to us by God, a kind of peace that is superior in all ways to what the world thinks of as peace. It’s not an absence of conflict but a genuine wellness of soul which gives the wherewithal to go through seasons of strife without losing it. That’s because it “guards our hearts” from going off into unproductive second guessing and “if only.” Instead, it keeps our hearts and minds settled in Jesus. That’s not some emotional trick. We make our home in Christ, in His mindset and in His care.
This peace is given to us in response to our genuine prayers:
“…The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:5b-7)
Mixing prayer requests with thanksgiving – real thankfulness – is a key to this kind of prayer and that kind of peace. When we turn computer problems over to an expert, knowing he has the knowledge and skill to take care of it, we don’t waste time futilely trying to figure out how to fix it ourselves. Same thing when we turn problems over to Almighty God, only so much better.
The phrase, “surpasses all understanding” probably means it is impossible to understand the peace that comes, much less to explain it logically. But I suspect it also means the peace we receive is better than the understanding we yearn for in tough circumstances. We cannot explain why God would allow this tragedy to have occurred but as we pray and, as He blesses our souls with peace, we discover that understanding why it has happened is not so important. We have peace that comes from God, comes from knowing the God of sovereignty and grace, knowing He is on the case and somehow that is enough. More than enough, it’s better. It surpasses the mere desire to understand.