I was aboard a small jet, flying home. On the ground far beneath us were thunderstorms. But above the clouds, the plane was flying through one of the most peaceful, beautiful worlds I’ve ever seen. The clouds spread out in a panorama of white beneath the plane like a blanket of snow. Some clouds towered up like mounds of cotton-candy all around us. The sun’s rays slanted across the billowy masses, turning portions of clouds to pink and gold. I felt as if I were traveling through a fantasy world, a world so soft and still that nothing could ever trouble it. Looking at those clouds from above, no one would ever guess that storms were going on down below them.
This is where I’m supposed to live all the time, I realized. Above the pressures of life, in a world where God’s presence shines on the clouds and where His peace rules.
I pondered that thought as we jetted on through the white, fluffy wonderland. Why is it so hard to live above the daily grind? Why is my vision so easily clouded by the storms of doubt, worry, and frustration with everyday problems? Why do I often live beneath the dark, gray undersides of the clouds instead of up here where I see them as soft, shining pillows on which to lay my head?
There’s a sense in which we choose which side of the clouds we see. We choose the dark underside when we forget to pray. Philippians 4:6–9 reminds us that in order to have God’s peace protect our hearts and minds, we have to come into His shining presence. We have to come with thanksgiving. We have to bring our specific requests to Him instead of succumbing to worry. And then we have to consciously choose to dwell on what is beautiful and true.
I don’t seem to need any help seeing the gray clouds swollen with rain in my sky. But I know I desperately need God’s help to obey, to trust, to love Him with all my mind, and to continually choose the world above the clouds.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. (Philippians 4:6–9)