“The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
As I try to navigate this time I keep thinking about Paul’s words here in Philippians 4. He says so much that speaks directly to my heart right now. He tells us that:
1. The Lord is at hand.
2. Therefore we do not need to be anxious.
3. Rather we should be moved to pray.
4. And in our prayers we are to give thanks.
5. And tell him everything that we need.
6. And his peace will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
One of the hardest things in all of this is the feeling of helplessness. I feel like I am just sitting around waiting to see what happens. Will I get sick? Will Michelle get sick? The best thing I can do is nothing! What’s going to happen to the economy? But Paul says to remember – the Lord is at hand! I may be helpless but he is not. I may not know what to do but he is working all things according to the counsel of his will for my good. I may be in the dark but he knows all things – including when this will be over. The Lord is at hand, he is near – and he is my shepherd, he is my Father, he is my shelter in the storm – and I can trust him. That is why I do not need to be anxious. If I forget that the Lord is near, I have every reason to be anxious whether I acknowledge it or not. But if he is near then nothing will happen to me that he is not in control of and will use for my good.
So rather than being anxious – worrying – I should pray. THAT is really the best thing that I can do. Knock on the door of my heavenly Father’s throne room just like a four year old knocking on his daddy’s office door and tell him how I am feeling and what I need. I should tell him that I am afraid. I should tell him that I am anxious and worried about my job, about my future, about money, about school, about having enough toilet paper, etc, etc. I should tell him that I need HIM. I should ask him to help my unbelief; to help me believe that he is all-powerful and all-good and that he is for me and not against me.
And then I should remember all the things that I am thankful for. I am thankful for Jesus – that he who knew no sin became sin for me so that in him I might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:2). I am thankful that he who was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but made himself nothing, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-8). I am thankful that Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18) – which means that COVID-19 is under his power and authority. I am thankful for my wife, and kids that they are healthy and that we have a roof over our heads and food in the pantry and a church body that we love, and friends who love us and pray for us. We could go on and on.
And his promise to us is that as we remember that the Lord is at hand, and as we pray with thanksgiving, HIS peace will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. That is what I need. That is what I want. Is that what you need and want? Then join me in praying and believing as we struggle through this difficult time.
I have started using our denomination’s call/guide to prayer for the month of April as I seek to follow Paul’s wisdom. Would you join me? Start on whatever day of the month it is and let us cry out as a congregation to the God who loves us and gave himself for us. Here is the link.