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Seeds of the Kingdom

Honest to God

by Dean Gardner

20 January 2020

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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.
Philippians 4:6-7, NIV

One of my clear memories from the early months after I surrendered my life to Jesus, over thirty years ago, was of a day when I felt overwhelmed by the almost constant sense of spiritual oppression I was experiencing. After years of unemployment the Lord had marvellously opened a door for work experience which later led to permanent employment. Near to the office where I worked there was a meadow with a stream running through it. If I had time before work, I would sometimes walk through the meadow to arrive near the work’s main entrance. This particular morning, I paused to stand by the stream and simply prayed the words, “Lord, I feel terrible”. As I spoke those words with my head down it was as if I was bracing myself to sense God’s disapproval and even His rebuke that I should express something so negative to Him. Instead, to my surprise I felt His compassion and understanding as He came very close to me in response to my honest prayer.

That experience above, all those years ago, marked a significant new understanding in my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I saw clearer than I ever had before that He wasn’t interested in my putting on a brave face when I spoke to Him or using the ‘right’ words. He wanted a relationship with me that was based on truth and reality. For me, at that time in my early walk with the Lord, it still seemed hard to grasp that He really wanted such intimacy with me. I wonder if you have ever had the experience of starting to share with someone a struggle you were experiencing only to realise that their mind and their attention was somewhere else. Can you begin to believe that the God who holds the universe together but calls you His child isn’t like that and actually wants to hear just what’s going on in your life, with all its joyful highs but also its fearful and anxious lows?

In 1 Peter 5:7 we read, ‘Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you’. Why does our Heavenly Father want us to bring our anxiety and fear to Him? It’s simply because He cares about us. The words which come immediately before our verse from Philippians 4:7 today are, ‘The Lord is near’. That’s what I discovered that day on my way to work when I shared the truth of how terrible I was feeling. The Lord was near. For anyone reading this Seed today whose heart is breaking or full of anxiety, He’s near to you right now and He cares. Share your heart with Him. He is listening.

Prayer: Father, here I am, the child You love. Here’s what’s happening with me right now… (tell Him). Thank You that You are near me right now and that You care for me so much. I love You.

Dean Gardner worked part time in the Ellel Grange Ministry Office for four and a half years until October 2018 and is now part of the Associate teaching and ministry team. He now lives in Norfolk with his wife Gemma. In 1988 he experienced God`s amazing grace at a carol service and began a journey of restoration and healing with Jesus. He longs to continue that journey allowing God`s truth to change his own life but also to share that truth with others that they too might know Jesus for themselves.


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