Saturday, January 14, 2017

Hope In the Face of Anxiety

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.

Philippians 4:6-7

Early this morning my husband and I received an urgent phone call from our son. “I need you to pray NOW, Mom.” My heart sank as I put the phone on speaker so his dad could hear. Police. Student. Accusation. Information. Our children. The longer he spoke, the more anxious I became. He and a team of adults, students, and our grandchildren held a kid’s camp for a church several states away and were ready to start home when the trouble arose. “Please call your prayer warriors, gotta go, call later, bye!”

My husband and I immediately prayed then began petitioning others to pray urgently for God’s intervention. After an extremely long hour—it felt like three—and acknowledgment from a myriad of pray-ers confirming their petitions to God on behalf of the mission team, our son sent a text informing us they would soon start home although the situation was not yet fully resolved.

After praising and thanking God for His speedy answer and blessing, extending my gratitude to all who prayed, and deep breathing for a few moments, I sat down to write. My title and Scripture for this chapter, chosen weeks ago, reminded me once again of God’s perfect timing. There is Hope in the Face of Anxiety.

The Apostle Paul began Philippians 4:6 with these words, “Do not be anxious about anything…” I cannot honestly tell you that I earned an A on that portion of the test today. I definitely exhibited signs of concern and anxiety. But praise God for the remainder of that verse, “but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Can you imagine the seemingly impossible task of never being anxious about anything? So, what do we do with our anxious moments—times of stress—legitimate concerns?

o   Pray—Petition God. Make a request. Ask for help.
o   Be Thankful
o   Praise God

Turn your worry into prayer. Worry Less—Pray More! When you “present your requests to God,” be specific. Yes, He already knows, but remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Be persistent in your pursuit of God. Do not give up. He is not running from you. Psalm 139 tells us there is no place we can go where God is not already there. When anxiety makes your stomach roll and your knees weak, run to God, not from Him.

What will happen when you do that? Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” That is your hope in times of anxiety. God’s peace guarding your heart and mind! Shielding your heart from the enemy.

We have lots of cattle ranches in Texas. As you drive along the highways, you often find areas where there is no fence across a driveway to keep the cattle inside the ranch, but rather a series of metal tubes spaced a few inches apart and buried in the ground with only the top of the tubes showing. Cattle will not cross the cattle guards. I like to think of God’s peace doing the same thing for your heart and mine. Peace places a protective guard around your heart making it more difficult for satan’s fiery darts to penetrate.

So, the next time you face anxiety, remember the HOPE! Present your requests to God and allow His peace that—exceeds, surpasses, goes beyond—transcends all understanding to “guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” He is your hope in the face of anxiety.

© Joyce Powell

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