If it isn’t one thing, it’s another! Ever had that feeling? I mentioned in my last post that I recently lost my job. With that came a loss of our health insurance. But God used that job loss to lead us into a new ministry that we thoroughly enjoy. This blog is one aspect of it. To see what else we’re involved in, check out the rest of our website. And if you’d like to become a ministry partner, thank you! We’re now a nonprofit charity, making your donations tax-deductible.
Then, a few weeks ago, the other shoe dropped. While waiting for the approval of our new insurance plan, my wife began to suffer several painful symptoms. At her exam in January, everything was normal. Now, six months later, she awaits a consultation with an oncologist at the UW Medical Center. Please pray for her healing. Of course, with trial comes anxiety. And yet, in large part due to your prayers, God is giving us peace. The other reason is His promise in Philippians 4:6-9. That is the focus of this post. How do we stop the worry when we’re in the middle of a big trial? Let me suggest 3 steps based on Paul’s advice.
Step 1: Pray thankfully. The promise is: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7) Prayer is the antidote to anxiety. Not just any kind of prayer. We need to pray with the right attitude – an attitude of gratitude! “Be grateful I’m suffering this painful trial and I don’t know what the outcome will be?” No. Not every trial is some-thing for which we ought to be grateful. But even in the midst of the worst trial, we can be thankful that God loves us, that we have a Savior in Jesus, that our lives are in His hands, and that one day all our tears will be wiped away. And when we pour out our hearts to God in prayer, without becoming bitter, the peace of the Holy Spirit protects our minds from the terror of anxiety.
Step 2: Think confidently. Should we pray thankfully and then think negatively? Shall we pray thankfully and worry? No! Paul says to tell God what you need and then think confidently. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, what-ever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, what-ever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil. 4:8) Thinking confidently in the face of trials is what it means to walk by faith, and without faith it is impossible to please God. Don’t be like the Chicago man I read about. When a police officer ticketed him for double parking, he explained that he always double parks when he visits the dentist. That way he has something to take his mind off the pain!
Step 3: Act responsibly. Paul concludes, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil. 4:9) Earlier Paul promised us the peace of God. Now he promises that the God of peace Himself will be with us if we put His truth into action. Faith isn’t sitting back and doing nothing. It’s putting into practice the principles of God. That’s why we have peace as we await Cheryl’s appointment. We’ve submitted our lives to God’s providential care; we’ve fixed our minds on the promises of His Word, and we’ve done everything we can to get her the help she needs. Robert Frost said, “The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.” Doing beats stewing!
What should you do, then, if you’re facing a big worry? Pray thankfully, think confidently, act responsibly, and God’s Spirit will comfort your heart with His supernatural peace. What if that doesn’t happen right away? It may mean that God wants you to share the need with others, so they can share in the victory and give Him praise too. We’d like to do that if you’ll share your needs with us. Share a prayer request in the comment section below or send us a personal note by clicking on the “Contact Us” button at the top of the page, so we can join you in prayer. Then listen to the song below. It’s terrific!