Fear < Understanding < Peace

Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” (Marie Curie)

I came across this quote again this week, and it is particularly apropos these days. I mulled it over, as I do. It made me think of a well-known scripture:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Oftentimes, this is interpreted as “God’s peace is too great to understand.” However, the Greek word behind surpasses is hyperechō, which means to rise above, to surpass, to be superior to, to be better than. The text truly says that “God’s peace is superior to understanding.”

Put it all together, and Philippians 4:6-7 could be paraphrased this way:

Don’t be afraid. Instead, talk with God. With a grateful heart, let Him know what you need. Then, God’s peace — which is even better than understanding! — will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Marie Curie was right: Understanding is superior to fear. But there’s something superior to understanding: God’s peace. May each one of us have it, now more than ever.

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