As we come into the holiday season do you find yourself worrying or fretting any of these things – health, finances, relationships, children, aging parents, employment status? Do you find yourself tossing and turning at night, constantly thinking about one or more of those areas of your life? Do you regularly say to yourself, “If only I had, or if only I could (fill in the blank)?”
Let us begin by saying that thinking about, and taking care of, any or all of those areas of your life is not bad in itself. We are all called to be wise and take care of all that we have. For example, exercising is a good thing, but constantly worrying about how you look is not healthy. Having a budget and being wise with your finances just makes good sense, but always worrying about that next unexpected expense or the state of your retirement fund only causes unneeded stress. Wanting your kids to be safe and succeed in life is a good parenting strategy, but being overprotective or always hoping they make all the right decisions only causes many sleepless nights. You get the idea.
The Bible tells us that if we are to trust God in all things. Proverbs 3:5 tells us this, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” We are instructed not to worry. And by worry, we do not mean not to have concern over a particular issue (that is normal), but the constant worry and stress over an issue does two things.
We are also told to present our requests to God, with a thankful heart, and in doing so, we are promised an exchange, we hand over fear and anxiety and in return we receive the peace of God. We read this in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And (so that) the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Just as it is hard to be tired and rested or happy and sad at the same time, it is also really hard to be anxious and thankful at the same time. Our faith is quickened, strengthened, when we remember in thankfulness what God has done for us in the past. The antidote to worry is thanksgiving.
We want to end with a passage of Scripture that shows us our proper response when life turns sour, and in this particular passage circumstances seem to be extremely sour.
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, through the olive crop fails, and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” (Habakkuk 3:17-19, NIV. For more “deer feet” references, read 2 Samuel 22:34 and Psalm 18:33-34.)
Ask God to make Himself near to you. If you seek Him you will find Him. You find the peace of God by being in the presence of God, so be like a deer and run there today!
New Bern, NC