A friend called me the morning after the rioting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. He was so frantic and worked up that he kept interrupting me. I couldn’t seem to get more than two or three words out before he would begin ranting again. He was terrified that the entire country was going to turn violent; and his house, as everyone’s, would be targeted by extreme domestic terrorists.
I finally had to raise my voice to get his attention. I explained that if he wouldn’t settle down and change this from a rant to a conversation, I would hang up. He was so worked up that he felt sick.
“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” Matthew 6:27 (ESV)
He finally allowed me to speak. I explained to him that there was nothing he could do to change the past. It was gone, never to return. And filling himself with panic over the future’s “what-ifs” would be not only useless, but counterproductive. Such worry has no point.
There is nothing wrong with concern over the state of the nation. In fact, we should be concerned. What we shouldn’t do is allow current events to replace our faith with fear!
The late Keith Green said, “This generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of souls on Earth.” How we behave, the faithful and peaceful manner in which we conduct ourselves, has a much greater influence upon those around us than we could possibly imagine. We think they ignore us, but they see. Is what they see going to attract them to Jesus, or repel them?
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV)
Do we really believe that God is on the throne? Do we really believe that He has our lives planned for good (Jeremiah 29:11)? Or could it be that we can trust Him only with our salvation, and not our earthly lives?
We often fear what we cannot see over that which we can. But knowing God’s end game should fill us with hope! We know that we have before us an eternity with God. We don’t cease to exist when we die. What lies beyond what our eyes can see is more resplendent than we could ever possibly imagine. The apostle Paul said, “I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” (Philippians 1:23, ESV). He said it as if he could actually choose! Whether he could or could not choose to leave behind his life of persecution and suffering is actually irrelevant. He knew deep down that he could be of use to the world around him. Giving up was not an option.
“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad” Proverbs 12:25 ESV.
I realize, of course, that some people suffer from panic attacks (I have two close friends who do). And while I believe that this is, at least partially, a learned involuntary reflex to external stimuli, I believe that we can choose instead to focus on a good word from the Lord. I believe that a good word (a God Word!) at the right time can restore a soul to peace even in the darkest of circumstances.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments. As always, these are the musings of a mindful disciple. Blessings on your week!
Photo by Ricardo Esquivel from Pexels
When I was reading the first part of this, I got the picture of a ship at sea in the midst of a storm, firmly anchored. An anchor doesn’t diminish the storm’s intensity and you don’t know how long the storm will continue, but the anchor protects you from destruction by diminishing the storm’s effects in the meantime. That’s its sole function. And it works.
I have received a lot of encouragement from this in Isa 26:3: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
Without disclosing personal details, I have, for several years “walked on water” emotionally despite a great deal of damage done to my family from a spouse who left the faith. I didn’t “figure out” how to deal with this; I fixed my eyes on Jesus and continued to obey faithfully.
Because my mind was “stayed,” the “perfect peace” I have walked in over the last decade was a by-product of that determination to focus on the race set before me. I can’t offer anyone any profound insights about situations like mine, just the assurance that, as you mentioned, trusting in the Lord provides an anchor. It doesn’t provide answers to all the “what ifs,” but it enables you to ride out the storm just as a ship rises and falls on a choppy sea. A ship that isn’t anchored is at the mercy of the storm.
Well said! Isaiah 26:3 is one of my favorites. And it really does serve as an anchor. It keeps us grounded and (hopefully!) humble. I’m sorry for what you have been through, but not for the end result. When we go through difficulties (I know that word doesn’t do justice to some of our trials), if we stay anchored, the person that comes out on the other side is of greater use for the Savior. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! I surely appreciate it. Blessings!