There is so much these days to cause us anxiety and fear. This past weekend a 17-year old boy drowned after being swept up in a rip current off the North Carolina coast. Yesterday morning, a tragic fire engulfed a residential high-rise in London, killing many people and leaving upwards of 2,000 homeless. Hours later, here in the United States, a 66-year old man apparently “unhappy at the way things were going” decided to take out his anger by shooting five people at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC. And hardly a day goes by where we do not learn of another mass murder or terrorist attack somewhere in the world.
Maybe you or someone you know has recently been diagnosed with cancer. As you were ready to leave work for the day your boss called you into her office and told you that your hours were being reduced due to the company’s declining sales, leaving you worried about how you will be able to pay for your daughter’s upcoming wedding. Your son sits on the bench while the coach’s son gets to play all the innings, even though “everyone knows your kid is the best player on the team.”
This world is full of injustice and evil perpetrated on innocent people, life is not always fair and bad things to happen to good people while bad people sometimes don’t get what they seemingly deserve. Let’s be honest, you wonder why you always miss grabbing the rings when riding the carousel while others always seem to get the brass ring. Throw in the fear factor, and we spend our days worrying and fretting, often times needlessly. We are in no way diminishing any struggles you might be facing, whether they are big or small, or those times when you have reason to have legitimate fears and concerns.
In Philippians 4:6-7 we read – “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (MSG)
We find these words in Habakkuk 3:17-19 – “Though the cherry trees don’t blossom and the strawberries don’t ripen, Though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted, Though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty, I’m singing joyful praise to God. I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God. Counting on God’s Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I’m king of the mountain!” (MSG)
So today, even if your cherry trees aren’t blooming or are frozen in the ice, ask Jesus to replace the worry you have with the peace that only He can bring!
New Bern, North Carolina