Paul wrote to the Church in his letter to the Philippians the following caution, Don’t
worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Don’t worry...? This may be the most worrisome time ever for most of you.
Can you define what it is that is causing you to be afraid or anxious? I understand that it’s the Coronavirus, but what is it about the virus that alarms you? How have you tried to cope with the anxiety or fear? And what would your life be like if you were free of this anxiety?
What I want you to hear especially from the above Bible passage are the instructions to
“tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.”
First of all, by telling God what you need, to be “praying about everything,” you’re opening up your thoughts and feelings to Him who is a great Counselor. You may remember that on the night before Jesus was crucified, He promised His followers that the hour was coming when they would see Him no more, but He would send to them a Comforter, a Counselor; Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit. He promised to be with them in spirit-form! “On that day you will know that I am in the Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” (John 14:20)
I have found great relief as I have struggled to express my own fears or anxieties to God through the years. It may demand that you find some quiet time for meditation. But our Father is a great Counselor, and something subtle, but mind-changing and heart-changing, takes place when you find a way to express your fears and doubts to Him. The Father is able to infiltrate your spirit, mind, and body with a powerful presence that brings new hope!
Archibald D. Hart said, “Unless fear, worry, and anxiety are honestly faced and worked through, people can end up in a pattern of avoidance – organizing their lives around people and situations that they must avoid.”
If we press the honesty angle, can you honestly express what is making you most anxious?
I understand there are legitimate reasons for anxiety and fear. But we cannot let fear conquer us. Jesus came to earth for such a time as this, knowing that the world we live in is scarred by the sins and evil of humanity. Creation itself waits to be set free from its bondage to decay, (Romans 8:18-23). But we need not fear, for Christ has overcome the world, and He will come again and receive us into His presence and glory! This is the reality for all who call on the name of Jesus!
Please understand that much of our fear is aroused through what we’re hearing from the news programs. I know that it’s important to stay informed, but I suggest no more than 2 hours total of news viewing throughout the day. The media purposely feeds the hysteria in order to keep your viewership!
The second part to the Bible’s instructions is to “thank God for all He has done.” So take a look around and give Him thanks for the blessings you can identify! Name at least 10! We have to name more than three because we take most of our blessings for granted and think nothing of them.
“...for all that He has done!” You just may discover that your circumstances are not nearly as bad as you thought when you were digesting all the bad news!
It’s so important to remember who you are and to whom you belong! Knowing your identity is so important as we live through this confused time. The Bible says, God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)
God lifts you up above the fear and anxiety that the people of the flesh experience. We are people who know we are different. We have a different Master with a different purpose and a different destination! Our God is like a Father, who loves us greater than any love we’ve ever found, with mercy that is deeper than any ocean ever explored! Praise God! Regardless what happens, you will know – from out of your personal prayer time – that you belong to the One who is above all other powers and all other kings!
So join me in the following prayer:
Prayer for the Day: O Father, be as near to us as the next breath of life. Grant to us the desire to surround our lives in You, that we might know the power of Your comforting presence and the renewal of Your Spirit. Refresh our minds that we might see how the world shapes our soul with such bitter negativity and fear. Lift us above the sea of sadness so that our sails are filled by the new songs of hope and victory!
We pray, too, for those who have fallen under the weight of a new virus – knowing that You are able to do infinitely more than we might ask or think! Bring glory to Yourself through the healing of our loved ones, even those who don’t know You, so that in their healing they might be awakened from their sins to receive Your glad and joyful Spirit! In Jesus’ name we pray.