4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. 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.
What happens when you hear someone telling you, “Don’t worry?” You might be tempted to think, “Well, that is exactly what I will be doing, now that you mentioned it.”
So when I read Paul’s words in Philippians 4:6, reminding us “not to be anxious about anything,” I can’t help but wonder if anyone is really able to patiently stop themselves from being anxious in the heat of the moment. Was Paul writing to convince himself of the need to keep all his worries in check through prayer, or was he writing to convince the world?
Often when we tell someone who is really stressed not to worry, all we do is feed into their cycle of anxiety. We all know that some worries feel too vast to completely trust them to our God. We want to exercise control ourselves. Or perhaps we feel untrustworthy, impatient, or just too afraid to exercise our faith. Our fears keep us from letting Jesus take the wheel!
But let the verses in Philippians 4:4-5 remind us to keep our fears in check. “We are to rejoice…because the Lord is near.” Paul isn’t just telling us to rejoice no matter the circumstance. Paul is reminding us that our Lord is with us and ready to take on and to share in our deepest troubles.
Our worries, our hopes, and our fears may not turn out as we have imagined, but still the Lord is our refuge and our strength! Jesus is with us and willing to take the wheel, if we can just go to God in prayer and with thanksgiving. After all, our Lord, Jesus Christ, is the one who has triumphed over all the world’s troubles. So let Jesus take the wheel! Then our hearts will know “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.”
By Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
Sometimes it is really hard to patiently give our worries to God. But through our prayers, and with thanksgiving, God’s peace and grace exceeds our limited ways of knowing. What worries, anxieties or fears plague you? How can you invite our Lord to help keep your worries in check? When do you sense God’s peace that surpasses all understanding? How do you let Jesus take the wheel?
Prayer: Loving Lord, help us to rejoice in you. Help us to trust and lean into your loving ways. Even when our worries seem unsurmountable, help us to patiently seek you. We want so much to find your grace and peace. We want Jesus to take the wheel. Amen.