I recently heard someone say that it seems like everyone is just meaner these days. I think I know what this person meant. We live in anxious times. The 2016 presidential race has a good many people wound up. There has been another act of gun violence and terrorism in Orlando. This weekend, our denomination’s General Assembly finished another biennial meeting. Close to home, there has been unexpected tumult among leaders in Jefferson County. Even in our own church, various issues have created anxiety among many of us.
One of my favorite verses about anxiety is in Philippians:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
In this verse, to combat those nervous moments in life, Paul gives us an attitude and two actions. The attitude is to rejoice. Rejoicing in the Lord means to look at the good things God is doing instead of focusing only on the negative. Sometimes that is really, really hard. It might seem like everything that can go wrong is going wrong, but I am certain that in those moments there is something for which to rejoice in the Lord.
The two actions are to be reasonable and to pray. To be reasonable is to choose to be calm even when you feel like standing on a high point and screaming! It’s very hard to be reasonable when you want to everything else but. However, our reasonableness is only possible by relying on God. He gives us the strength and we are able to point people in God’s direction.
Prayer is something that should not be foreign to us. When we pray, we move the focus from what we are unable to control to the One who is able to control all things. And the result of seeking God in prayer is that God will bestow upon us his unfathomable and ever-comforting peace.
I know things get crazy sometimes, and we don’t know what to do. That is when we must rejoice, be reasonable, and pray.