"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, blah blah blah...."
This is just a passing scripture reference I read over in my weekly notes for a Biblical Counselling Course that I am doing. It struck me, that when I recognised what I was reading I immediately hit the skip forward button on my internal remote... I am very familiar with this passage, but something about it just irks me. I don't want to read it... it makes me uncomfortable.
Thankfully I heard the Lord point out to me that this isn't right... His Word brings life, not discomfort. So I stop.
You're right, what is it about this passage that just rubs me the wrong way? What is my problem?
I'm learning that its times like these when you have to stop and invite Jesus in. He is standing at the door knocking, but He will not force Himself on you. You need to invite Him in, even if you haven't had a chance to tidy-up yet. I am also realising that He has a habit of showing up, right when its getting real messy in there... that's not coincidence either.
It turns out that this passage wasn't written to rebuke anxious people. It was written as an encouragement. In the past, I have had this passage flung at me by other people who naively thought they were being helpful, but were actually being hurtful. It is a little silly to tell a person struggling with anxiety to just "Don't be anxious." It's a bit like telling someone to stop snoring. It is very insensitive, and its wrong. There was this one time when Jesus grew so anxious that He sweated blood!! I have never been at that point, and pray I never will be. But I have wrestled with anxiety, and for very good reason. Life can be rather horrifying sometimes. I realise that this passage struck a nerve with me today because I am feeling anxious, but am pretending not to be.
I'm very very good at being stoic so you would never know but, I am walking around constantly just on the edge of flipping out. This week a very dear friend had a perfect baby girl. And Praise the Lord, everything went well and both Mum and Bub doing great. I also found out that two other friends are pregnant. This is good news. I am happy for my friends, and it is good news. But I am so sad for me. And it really really hurts. This is not something you will understand until you walk it for yourself, but hearing about other peoples babies, and seeing other bubs out in the shops just twists the knife a little bit more and reopens the wound. It hurts. And I know that God is not going to stop other people from having babies until I'm able to cope with it again. Other people will keep having babies and I will keep on hurting. It just is what it is.
So now comes the point when I need to come before the Lord and ask Him to come into this and meet me here. Well that's what I meant to do, but it came out more like this...
Lord, please help me to not become a nutcase!!!
He comforts me. He is so tender. I don't need to be brave. It does hurt. I'm allowed to be afraid, sad, angry... it isn't fair. It is reasonable for me to be anxious about this. So I go back and I read the passage in context...
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 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. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me - practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."
Philippians 4: 4-9.
My worst fears have been recognised. I am living my nightmare. I brought my child home in an urn... But God has not changed. He remains, His love still runs deep, and His faithfulness endures forever. I know my God. He is honourable, and just and pure and lovely and commendable and excellent..... These are not just empty words, but this is my intimate experience of the God of peace who is with me. Because of who God is, there is reason to rejoice, even in my pain.
It really really hurts... but I am still confident of this, I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!!
Please continue to pray for me.