Today is a big day! Each day is a big day. A blessing, a challenge and an opportunity. As society embraces fear, hate and polarization it is easy to allow a sense of dread and frustration to rule the day. In my younger years I was guilty more than once of tunnel vision, not understanding the choices made by other people and allowing these choices to greatly disturb my inner self. The sadness, the tears, the anger and confusion–all wasted energy on things outside of my control and quite frankly, sometimes, none of my business.
Philippians 4:6-7 urges us “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.” I heard someone say once “when in a fix, Philippians four six.” This simple jingle invites you to bring your cares and concerns to the throne room of God. Think about that for a second. The God who created heaven and earth and all the people in it cares enough about you to give you His peace when you are anxious, and it is your guard. An amazing thing about this is that it is a free gift to us since Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for us to share in this blessing. No entry fee required.
- Prayer is an invitation to dialogue with the Trinity and an essential building block of a relationship with God. He desires intimacy with each one of us and the simple prayers whispered in earnest are as important as the long thought out ones. At times I have found myself confused about what to pray or how to pray and then I am reminded of Romans 8:26. “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
- Encourage others thus filling the world with positive vibes. Not empty well wishes, but those full of life! Love, patience and kindness will help break down walls of fear which are at the base of negativity. Proverbs 15:4 “The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.”
- Acknowledge and accept that there are some things that you will not understand, and that is ok. Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all you ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.” When I trust in the Lord with all my heart, I acknowledge that I won’t understand everything. Growing up my dad told me “don’t judge a man until you walk a mile in his moccasins.” Each person is a unique creation of God, we are not gods ourselves. We are all responsible for our own choices. Being a human can be hard enough, no one needs another human looking down on them for something they don’t understand. The point is to care more about a person than his or her opinion.
- Courageously decide to have compassion and forgive, irregardless of how society in general is interpreting a group of people or an individual. Ephesians 4:32 urges us “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
- Edify your soul with the Word of God. “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:7-10
No one knows what the future holds, this is the understatement of the year. My prayer is that we can all move forward, wipe the cobwebs of fear out of our mind and lean into God. Keeping our eyes on Him and not on the storm, like Paul on his shipwrecked adventure to Malta, we will find along the way that God’s plan is perfect. Oh dear friend, let His peace guard your heart and mind.