The Bible tells us not to be anxious about anything (Philippians 4:6). But it’s not something we would choose to do. We don’t look at a problem and say, “Let’s worry about this for a while and it might go away.” No amount of worrying will make it disappear. To get rid of our anxiety we must replace it with something else - something positive, something bigger than the problem. But why do we worry in the first place?
Is it because we find ourselves in a situation we can’t avoid? Are we stuck in a downward spiral of circumstances or thoughts that drag us down, with our willpower and determination to resist being pulled down with us? The deeper we go the more impossible the situation seems to become. It’s like falling into a pit of despair and there’s no way out.
Why would the Bible tell us to do something we find almost impossible to do? We need to read on, to see the rest of the quotation: ‘But in all things, with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let you requests be known to God..’
We need to tell God about the problem. It sounds obvious, but in the middle of a crisis reasoning becomes distorted and we need to speak to God about it. We come to Him in an attitude of humility, thanking Him for His goodness, and putting our case before Him with confidence. ‘Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need’ (Hebrews 4:16). Our strength comes in the sharing of our problems with someone who can understand, who cares and is trustworthy. His name is Jesus.
Often, we don’t immediately find the solution, or the way out of a difficult situation, but at least we can see the doorway of escape which lies straight ahead. Doubts may bubble up, but we need to press on determinedly, thanking Him for His presence and the peace He offers. This generates confidence and hope. He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us. We have His word.
Now we step on to the raft of trust. It seems a bit wobbly at first, bobbing about on the water of hope. Tentatively we take this first step. Will it take my weight? Will it hold me up? Yes, and yes. ‘Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you’ (1 Peter 5:7). This is where His help in our time of need comes in, ‘an ever-present help in times of trouble.’
Now we can stand firm and look into the face of the One who loves us. We know, just know, that somehow everything is going to be all right. For the peace of God, which none of us can fully grasp, will fill us with a warmth and confidence as He gently pulls us up out of the pit. Then all our doubts and fears disappear like mist on a summer morning.
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