“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippian 4:6-7, NIV
Anxiety and comfort are incompatible feelings. The more anxious a person becomes, the less comfortable they actually feel. And as the level of anxiety increases, a deep sense of wanting to escape, from whatever the circumstances are that are causing the stress, begins to prevail. Ultimately that is why some people begin to have suicidal feelings. They have run out of ideas of how to fix the situation themselves and they want to escape.
Stress and anxiety are feelings that we can all have from time to time, so if God truly is a Father to His children – you and me – then, as a caring Father, He will have prepared a means for each one of us to respond to the situation in a way which brings hope and peace, instead of despair and distress.
In Isaiah 61:3 we read that the Sovereign Lord (the coming Messiah, Jesus) wants to replace the spirit of despair with a garment of praise. Having seen many times how thanksgiving and praise have been the fruit of healing I know, first-hand, that what both Isaiah is talking about and what Paul is saying in our Scripture for today, are absolutely true.
I met a lady last week who said, “twenty-seven years ago I came on a Healing Retreat at Ellel Grange. God so healed me that I have never looked back. My life was changed for ever.” The despair that caused her to come on the retreat was gone and her face radiated praise to her wonderful Lord who had been utterly faithful to His word.
Paul urges us to bring everything to the Lord – to share with Him the realities of life and to ask Him for help. Sometimes that help may include dealing with issues that have previously been swept under the carpet of life; owning up to life-changing mistakes that have been made; or forgiving people for terrible things that have happened. All this can be challenging, but when we face up to the circumstances hand-in-hand with the Lord He will help us and, instead of running from them, we discover that God is right there with us, helping us.
When there seems no human way out of a problem, it’s time to bring your requests to God and hand everything over to the Lord, asking Him to show you the way out or the way through. Then, Paul tells us, you will discover the peace of God which is truly beyond ALL understanding, and it will keep you safe as you wait on Him to show you the next step forward in your life.
Human anxiety is then replaced by God’s comfort, holding us safe while we trust Him to bring us through to a place of peace.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You understand all the circumstances of my life. Forgive me, Lord, for times when I’ve not trusted You and help me, I pray, to listen carefully to Your voice, guiding and directing my steps. Guard my heart and show me Your plan for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.