It happens again: Another “coincidence.” God’s timing.

Sunday morning. An echo from the pulpit gives me exactly what I need…

In early morning solitude, I read Philippians. The whole thing. Again.

I read it because I need it. Stuck with nothing but the book of Job for weeks, in my January Bible reading schedule… too much negative! I need balance! — and some sunnier perspective on the little revisits the past has paid me this week, dressed in  midwinter blues.

Somewhere I’d heard the claim that just reading through Philippians for 100 consecutive days would alone memorize it. So I’d been giving it a (skeptical) try, now rereading this joy book for about the fifth time.

But this time, I slow in chapter four, to linger amid verses 4-9. I’d hang around longer in the passage, but I must shower, get ready for church…

Later, at church: The pastor opens his Bible, directs our attention to…

Philippians 4:6-9!

He’s talking about scars from the past, and peace of mind.

I already know the prayer steps of Philippians 4:6-7 as a formula for inner peace —  including, of course, thanksgiving.

I even have a mug to remind me of it.

And in my earlier reading, back home, I also was noting each item in verse 8’s mind-focus list and its position in it.

But before church, I got no further. No time for studying verse 9’s instructions, and promise.

Now the pastor homes right in on it, then backtracks over verse 8, part by part!

He pinpoints three factors involved in overcoming emotional scars:

1- Attitude: Which side of a painful circumstance do I choose to focus on, hang out with, positive or negative?

How about choosing what’s…


noble (or excellent, or commendable),




good news,

of any virtue,


2- Time: The word “practice” in verse 9 ESV indicates the ongoing building of the “memory muscle” of right thinking. I’d like instant results, but only over time can I develop and strengthen it, by years of building, and practicing.

3- The size of our God, as I see Him. How big is He in relation to my difficulty? 

The bottom line I take home, swallow down, and digest:

We get hurt. Bad hurt. And scarred. And the scarred places may even render us crippled. And things or faces from the past can breeze into view like bad weather and suddenly bring back the pain to that damaged place. But…

“Scars are reminders of the past, not our tour guides to the future.” Like a scar the pastor’s son bears, left by a chain saw accident, they warn us to be careful (with chain saws, or whatever inflicted the pain), but not to decide never to pick up a chain saw, or ___(fill in the blank)______ again.

Exactly what I need.

I have something to put in that blank. Maybe more than one something.

How about you? What would you write in that blank?

And have you ever experienced a spoken or written message that meshed remarkably with your own secret situation or Bible pondering? How was “the God of peace” in this coincidence?

More about scars tomorrow.

Meanwhile, thanking God today, for

~Sermons that echo and expand what God was already saying to me in His word

~Wise perspective on life events, and circumstances, and people

~Timely phone call from the one and only friend with whom I could communicate well on a particular scarring event, because she got scarred the same way at the same time. (Yet another “God-incidence.”)

~The great big mightiness of God that has carried me amazingly through searing circumstances, Whom I can trust to take me though any my future holds.

~The scars. Their warning, and reminder of God’s comfort and strength.

~The “bad” events that left them, how they broadened my education, strengthened my faith, increased truth, grace, closeness to God in my life.

~Time and quiet to contemplate and process.

What an amazing God we serve!


12 thoughts on “Scars and Peace of Mind

  1. This is a beautiful message. We’re meant to be vulnerable because we’re safe in Jesus. While we may get beaten and bruised and scarred, we get back up again. I’m thinking how I will fill in the blank today…it’s a small thing, but I think I know.

    1. Thank you, Lisa. So glad you visited. Sometimes the “small” things are bigger than we realize… And yes, you are so right: we’re meant to be vulnerable, so we will rest in Him. Good thought. God bless.:)

  2. Sylvia, I’m so glad you linked this to Playdates this week! What a wonderful meditation on meditating on the Word. Such powerful medicine, isn’t it? Lovely, lovely thoughts here.

    1. Laura,
      I’m so glad you’re hosting Playdates! Thank you for that, and your kind encouragement. All this from Philippians really is proving powerful medicine for me! Working now on that “muscle memory”!

  3. Sylvia,
    This is right on!!! I love the way God orchestrates these little “coincidences” in order to continue the conversation he is having with us. He is so beautiful in that he wants to communicate with us regularly and through any means necessary. This topic on healing from past hurts is so vital. Keeping us from seeing God as a healer of emotional wounds is a primary way the enemy takes us out and keeps us from experiencing the joy that God brings us. Your word is right on and so very necessary.
    Thank you for being true to what God was downloading into your heart.
    God bless you my sister.

    1. Kerry-Ann, I can see you’re right on with this, too, that you’ve heard and seen God in your circumstances. And about the healing from hurts: more coming up on that. (Because He’s been working on me in that area.)
      Always so glad to get a visit from you! God bless you, sister!

  4. Dear Sylvia,

    …and He placed you in the correct church this past Sunday, too. Smiling here.

    This was a knock-out post!

    1. Oh, yes, Dawn! That’s right! That’s exactly where I was meant to be Sunday morning! Thank you for reminding me I could have been somewhere else!

      As for the knock-out post, it was actually awful as first posted. I read it later and cringed! Then I edited, edited, edited, trying to redeem what I’d already published. I even changed the title. I guess it came out better! Thanks. 🙂

  5. I was told once that God never uses coincidences, that is just how we view things but nonetheless… Our God is so big and vast and knows exactly what we need to hear to heal all the hurts and erase the scars. Have a fabulous day!

    1. Ms Kathleen,
      I also think there’s really no such thing as “just a coincidence,” that God has it all planned out, in control, and amazingly intervenes in even these “small” ways in our little lives. How great a God is that?! So glad you stopped by and commented. God bless!

  6. Oh … just oh.

    Wow. And yes, I have experienced that, pretty certain that the pastor prepared the message It’s scary cool, right? God is so startling in His modern-day appearances — our own sort of theophanies, I think.

    1. “Our own sort of theophanies.” Hm, yes, Jennifer, I never thought of it that way, but that’s a good way to put it, God’s Presence in our everydays. I do believe the closer we draw to Him and walk with Him and obey Him in the difficult obediences, the more we experience these “God-incidences” — and the “God-bumps” that go with them. 🙂 Thanks for stopping and commenting. God bless!

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