“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. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Philippians 4:6-8 NIV
When life’s storms rock our lives, God is always with us.
We are living in an anxious time. A global pandemic that seems to be sweeping through countries at alarming rates. Drastic measures to try to minimize the spread and slow down the climbing cases of infection… All you have to do is listen to the news and anxiety and fear and worry prevail.
These verses in Philippians seem to be written just for us, for just such a time as this! I read in a commentary that “Do not be afraid”, and similar phrases such as “Fear not”, are the most common command in the Bible. Some sources say about 365 times, one for each day in the year.
Worry and fear can paralyze us. But Paul’s advice gives hope and direction. What are we to do first? Bring all our anxiety and worry and requests to God. Give Him thanks for all that He has done already for us.
Our daughter lives in NYC. Last night on the news we heard that NYC is the epicenter of the virus in the US. A full one-third of the total cases in the country are in NYC. An immediate feeling of panic for mom and dad! What can we do? What can we send her to help her through this? How can we help her stay well?
But then, I thought of these verses (since I had already chosen them for the blog on Monday). I thanked God for keeping us all safe so far and for all the blessings He has provided. Then I asked for His continued protection and safety. And I did feel better. Instead of trying to bear it all myself, I gave it over to God. Peace.
But we aren’t finished. There is even more advice. Stop letting your thoughts dwell on the bad news. Think of the truth of God’s promises, all the wonderful ways God has cared for and blessed you already. Think of the loveliness of the created world, the excellence of good friends and neighbors. Think of all that is right and pure and worthy of praise. Think of God’s love for you. We are not to be anxious; concerned, helpful, but not panicked.
This week, and however long this situation lasts, let’s all keep these few verses from Philippians in our minds and hearts. When fear and anxiety creep in, invite God in as well. Let’s ask Him to share our burdens, worries and fears and give us His peace that “transcends all understanding.”
I thank God for each of you! And I thank you for joining me this week as we lean on God, His love, His promises and His strength.
Blessings and prayers and love for everyone!