Wednesday Word 7.31.2019
Philippians 4:4-7 New International Version
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
My mother used to call me at my office and ask, “Have you looked at the sky today?” That was her way of telling me that her heart was overflowing. When the sky was a certain shade of blue and the beautiful white clouds were floating overhead, she would have an overwhelming sense of wonder and gratitude. It was her way of trying to share that joy with me. That is the joy that springs from love, God’s love for us, that is meant for each other.
I few years ago I found a book by Linda Douty called Praying in the Messiness of Life. In fact, we used it in a study. That is the thing about reading other people’s thoughts and practices. Sometimes you will come across a simple idea that will give you a completely new perspective. It may be something you have heard many times over, but expressed in just that certain way, it finally sinks in. The author suggested that instead of asking all the time, we should be thanking God all the time. Instead of asking for safety on the road, for example, I thank God for seeing us safely to and fro. I tell him we will try to never take it for granted. If I am caught out in a storm and the traffic is crazy (or basically anytime I have to get on the interstate) and I begin to feel anxious, I remind myself that I don’t need to be nervous – vigilant, careful, alert, yes; but scared, no. God and I have had this conversation. No matter what happens, I know God will be right there with me. I can actually feel my blood pressure leveling off! Worrying about something means we really haven’t trusted that God will be present in that situation.
If I have spent the beginning of my prayer time going over some of the many things for which I am grateful, then I don’t feel so needy or self-absorbed when I talk with him about my concerns. If I express my thanks for the things weighing on my heart as I bring them up instead of just begging, then I assume my proper attitude towards Almighty God. I am the supplicant who embraces the fact that, “All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them.” This passage from Isaiah 40:6-7 reminds me of my place in the scheme of things every time. And I am comforted by that. Phew! I’m not in charge! God is everything! That’s where the peace comes from for me. That’s my “Blessed Assurance.” …something to pray about.
Your sister in Christ, Vicki