Friday morning I woke up with no heat in the house because the boiler had failed, Desiring God was still $200,000 from its year-end goal, and Paul had multiple seizures the day before.
I felt crummy. The little darts and arrows of anxiety and doubt were multiplying. Yet, I knew enough to say to Dianne, “I am commanded to live without anxiety.” To which she rightly replied, “yes, you are.”
So, the fight began. And God provided, through something Pastor John had preached just this past Sunday.
This is a longer piece from Pastor John’s most recent sermon, but I encourage you to read it all:
And because we have peace with God because of being justified by faith, we can begin to grow in the enjoyment of peace with ourselves — and here I include any sense of guilt or anxiety that tends to paralyze us or make us hopeless. Here again believing the promises of God with a view to glorifying God in our lives is key.
Philippians 4:6–7 is one of the most precious passages in this regard: “Do not be anxious about anything [the opposite of anxiety is peace], but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God [in other words, roll your anxieties onto God]. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The picture here is that our hearts and our minds are under assault. Guilt, worries, threats, confusions, uncertainties — they all threaten our peace. And Paul says that God wants to “guard” your hearts and minds. He guards them with his peace. He guards them in a way that goes beyond what human understanding can fathom. Don’t limit the peace of God by what your understanding can see. He gives us inexplicable peace, supra-rational peace. And he does it when we take our anxieties to him in prayer and trust him, that he will carry them for us (1 Peter 5:7) and protect us.
When we do this, when we come to him — and remember we already have peace with him! — and trust him as our loving and almighty heavenly Father to help us, his peace comes to us and steadies us, and protects us from the disabling effects of fear and anxiety and guilt. And then we are able to carry on and our God gets the glory for what we do, because we trusted him.
And God provided, again. As I write this, I am at peace. The house is still cold (repairman is on the way, Lord willing), I have no idea what donations will look like for Desiring God, and Paul’s doctor is off until next week so we must wait.
In all this, I know God is good. I have a foreign righteousness supplied by Jesus that lets me come into the presence of the Lord of the universe to seek his help! Amazing.
That is why I am optimistic about 2012, and I pray you are as well – not because of our circumstances, but because God himself is for us. And we know how that story will end someday!
And for my friends who are weary this last day of the year, I also recommend a beautiful post by Jon Bloom, A Year-End Prayer for Weary Waiters. Yes, come quickly, Lord Jesus – next year in Jerusalem!