You’d think someone like me who likes to quote Scripture would want to avoid entertaining either anxiety or offensive ways. But anxiety knocks on my heart’s door in many disguises. It’s in too often before I remember to let God answer the door.
What made it into my heart most recently was fourfold:
- Three of my friends were sucker-punched by cancer: all three have random but pernicious forms.
- Another friend fell, dislocating her shoulder: a tough setback as she is fighting MS.
- As this news settled in, the newspaper knocked with reports of children who were dreadfully abused by parents.
- And then the depressing news arrived of more than a few Christians behaving badly.
So, God was awake for all this? (Psalm 121:3-4)
Apparently. And God wants me to wake up and hear His answer –
- “Be still, wait . . . and know . . .” (Psalm 37:7, 46:10-11 )
- “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. . . .” (Philippians 4:5-7)
Is this a cop-out? Some might say so – But, Paul then urges that I think about what is right and practice it, giving [generously] to meet another’s needs because I am part of a family. (Philippians 4:8-23)
What makes God sad – offends Him – is my failure to pray, give and serve. Describing my anxiety is not praying, no matter how many words I use unless I talk to God, knowing, believing and trusting, that nothing comes into my life, especially sorrow, without His permission. ( James 1:16-18) Thinking about what I could do is not serving. (James 2:14-17)
When my anxiousness and offenses blow through my heart like dust storms, He says: pray and serve. And ask Him to keep cleaning His new abode – my heart. (Isaiah 57:15)
God you have shown me what is troubling me and saddening You; I’ve permitted it to get messed up. Create in me a clean heart, don’t cast me aside, and teach me to pray without ceasing for those whose lives are threatened by disease and despair. Help me to wait expecting good things and not disaster as You work out your will in the lives of those I love. Please guard me in Christ from faithless fear – and make me doubt my doubts as much as I doubt your purposes and power.