“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

Anxiety and worry are a part of the human condition. It is easy for someone to say, you shouldn’t worry, but I don’t know anyone who can go through the situations of life without anxiety and worry. We are finite human beings, and the fact that we cannot know the end from the beginning makes worry a part of life.

That being said, moving from worry to faith, from anxiety to dependence on God, is one of the journeys that Jesus invites us on. He does not want us to live with worry and anxiety but to live with faith and trust and allow our concerns to be carried by Him and not by us. 

I find it interesting that the words “do not be afraid” are repeated 365 times in the Bible, once for every day of the year. We need to hear these words every day because we need them daily. Scripture reminds us not to worry about having enough money for tomorrow because God looks after His own. We are told not to worry about the future because each day has enough worries of its own, and He carries them for us. We are told not to be anxious but to give our cares to Him.

There is an antidote for worry, and that is prayer. As Paul says in Philippians 4:6-7, “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.” 

We are invited in all situations, in all circumstances to bring our anxieties to Jesus in prayer and petition, and present our requests to God. Interestingly, Paul says that we should do this with thanksgiving. Why Thanksgiving? Because He is capable and able to intercede in our situation and carry our worries for us. And the exchange is this: We give him our anxieties, and he gives to us the peace of God which transcends all understanding. And that peace will guard our hearts and our minds - where anxiety and worries live - in Christ Jesus. I’ll take that exchange any day.

Some years ago, I was on a flight from Bangkok to the United States, and just as the plane was ready to take off at the end of the runway, the flight attendant saw that I was sick and had lapsed into unconsciousness. I woke up with my 20-year-old son kneeling beside me, and I heard the pilot announce that we were returning to the gate for a medical emergency. I asked my son if that was me, and he said, “yes, dad.” A few minutes later, we arrived at an unknown hospital to figure out what was wrong. 

They thought I had suffered a seizure, but there was no evidence of this with a brain scan. But over the course of the day, I went from sick to very sick to needing to be intubated in the ICU. A year earlier, I was intubated for a month in a coma in the United States for multiple organ failure and MRSA pneumonia and never should have survived. It was a 45-day hospital stay that took me years to recover from. Now a year later, still in recovery, I found myself in the same situation in a foreign country: organs shutting down, massive pneumonia, and knowing that my odds were not good.

I asked the doctor if they were going to put me into a coma like the year before, and he said no. “We will put you under to intubate you, and then you will be awake.” So, an hour later, I found myself awake, with a garden hose contraption down my throat, hooked up to some 15 pumps of various kinds and a breathing machine, and massive, unbelievable pain.

That first night I contemplated my odds. They were not good. I asked God to remove my pain, but that didn’t work. And then, as I reflected, my mind kept going back to a message I had preached about Peter getting out of the boat and walking toward Jesus and Jesus saying to him. Do not be afraid. And I asked God to take away my fear of death and the fear of the unknown. It was a gigantic struggle that first night, and it was repeated again and again as it would be 14 days before I was off the ventilator. But amazingly, God did exactly what He promised, and I traded my fear and anxiety for a supernatural peace that only God can give. 

The pain did not lessen. In Thailand, they didn’t provide pain medication, and with massive pneumonia, you feel like you are breathing through mud. Every hour they would disconnect the breathing machine, bag me to breathe, and vacuum out my lungs so that I could breathe again freely. That experience was like having a heart attack, and every hour felt like twenty-four hours of terrible pain for fourteen days. But, I traded fear for peace because of God’s promise. I realized that the greatest gift is when we come to the end of all of our resources, and all we have left is Him. Then we realize that He is all that we need.

Jesus is inviting you today to trade your worries and anxieties for His peace. That takes place as we bring our concerns to him daily in prayer and petition - with thanksgiving. And He can take those anxieties on Himself and leave us with supernatural peace. So whatever your anxieties are today, He invites you to give them to Him.

Father, I freely admit that I need more of your peace and less of my worry and anxiety. I give you my deepest fears and anxieties today and ask that you fill me with your peace that passes all understanding. Thank you for your goodness to me and your desire to carry my burdens yourself. Amen.

The question for today: What worries and anxieties do I need to give to Jesus in exchange for His supernatural peace.

  • Mar 10, 2022
  • Category: News
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