We live in troubling times. We cannot open a newspaper without being bombarded by some problem, whether it is a deadly new strain of the Coronavirus, another threat of a lockdown or fresh flight restrictions, or a further build-up of tension in some hotspot in the world. Compounding this are our personal struggles, so it is not surprising that so many of us are anxious.
How does one combat anxiety? Paul tells us in some of the most encouraging words to be found in Scripture. “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).
Paul doesn’t want us to be anxious about anything, and he says the way to eliminate it is by going to God in every situation that disturbs us, telling him about it, then thanking him and going away in peace.
If that sounds too simplistic to be true, think about this for a moment. When my daughter was little, she would occasionally tell me she needed some money for a class picnic or activity and could she have it. I’d tell her she could, and even though I didn’t give her the money at that moment, she’d give me a tight hug, say, “Thank you, daddy,” and go and play, the matter forgotten
How could she do this? Because she *knew* that on the day she needed to take the money to school (or a day earlier), I would give it to her. She trusted me implicitly, so she was at peace.
God is our father, far more trustworthy than any of us will ever be. So, how much more should our confidence in his provision be. He asks: “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11)
We need to take these words to heart, knowing that we can depend on God to take care of us. The deeper the relationship we have with him, the more we learn to trust him. This, if you need reminding, happens through time spent alone with him in personal prayer.
I will be giving a video talk on how to spend an hour in personal prayer in the new year after this year in the wilderness comes to an end. Stay tuned.