"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 (NIV)
As I began my morning praying God’s Word, I didn’t foresee the news that would come later that afternoon. I didn’t realize how much I would need to hold on to the promise woven into Philippians 4:6-7. But God knew.
As the verse came to me, the words didn’t seem to resonate deeply within my peace-filled heart. I knew these words to be true, but I wasn’t worried or anxious about anything. Nonetheless I prayed the words and went on with my normal routine.
Later that afternoon, my dad called. His usual pleasantries about the weather and questions about the grandkids were short this time. My mom was in the hospital. The symptoms pointed to a stroke, but the doctors were still unsure.
Hours of waiting and tests would ensue before we’d know anything. Only thing is I’m not a waiter. I am a doer. When life unravels and reels out of control, I do anything within my power to fix the situation. When situations cannot be fixed, I worry. Subconsciously, I believe I’m exercising some sort of direction over circumstances I can’t possibly change. My parents lived over 500 miles away. Even the desire to simply jump in my car and be present was not feasible at the time.
In the midst of my search for sense in the senseless, the words I prayed from today's key verse came to me: "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 minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
I realized with stark clarity how God was preparing me for what was to come. These verses gave me clear instruction for what I was to do with my worry. I was to give it to God.
With a new sense of direction, I prayed for my mom and my family. I prayed for the doctors who were working to find a diagnosis and the staff who were caring for her. I thanked God for getting my mom to the hospital safely and for the availability of the care she needed. I thanked Him for giving the living Word I needed.
As I prayed, my doer nature realized I was doing something. Although I still had no control over the situation, I was bringing it before the Almighty One who did. And that was the very best "doing."
An unspeakable peace came over me and just as the Scripture verse states, I did not understand it. But I was so grateful for it. His instruction and promise carried me until we were able to get some answers.
Hours later, my dad called saying my mom was going to be okay. As suspected, she had experienced a stroke, but with physical and occupational therapy the doctors expected her to regain much of her previous functionality. Weeks later, I came home for Christmas and listened as she played Christmas hymns on the piano. I was amazed. Not only had God given me peace when I needed it, but He had answered our prayers in a way I didn’t anticipate.
When we carry the Word of God in our hearts, it becomes a weapon against worry and anxiousness.
Things beyond our control will happen in our day-to-day lives, but we can equip ourselves with the Truth that protects our hearts and minds. When we do this, the words become like a soothing balm for our anxious souls.
Confidence replaces doubt and peace replaces worry. We find sweet rest because instead of relying on our own strength to carry us, we rely on the promises found in Christ Jesus.
Dear God, thank You for the power that is found in Your Word and the gift of prayer. When life is overwhelming, help me to remember the promises found in Scripture. Help me to realize that when I pray, I am bringing my cares before the One who cares perfectly. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Peter 5:7, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (NIV)
Psalm 119:45, "And I will walk at liberty and at ease, for I have sought and inquired for [and desperately required] Your precepts." (AMP)
Longing to write words that are memorable and life changing? Struggling to build a platform, but realize it takes more writing than you thought? Today’s devotion author, Abby McDonald, is a member of COMPEL, a resource for those who want to write words that move people. Click here
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Does worry keep you up at night? You might enjoy Micca Campbell’s book, An Untroubled Heart
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What current struggles cause you to worry? Is it something you can control? Or is it a situation you need to give to God?
Memorize one of the above verses and carry it in your heart. Write it on a note card, stick it on your mirror or your fridge, or whatever you need to do to remember it. When trouble comes, pray those words aloud.
© 2015 by Abby McDonald. All rights reserved.