Anxiety; April 12, 2018

Micah 4:11-12 But now many nations
are gathered against you.
They say, “Let her be defiled,
let our eyes gloat over Zion!”
But they do not know
the thoughts of the Lord;
they do not understand his plan,
he who gathers them like sheaves to the threshing-floor.

This scenario has played out many times throughout history. People think they have the upper hand, but they don’t know God’s plans. Here, Babylon and Moab and the like are gloating over Judah, but they have no idea how brief their triumph will be. I’m reminded of something I’ve heard quoted about more than one location: “If you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes.” We tend to look at the news and despair, and indeed tragic and disgusting things happen all the time. However, those things don’t negate the plans of God. All that we see and experience is temporal, in the flow of time, and therefore temporary. We forget that all too often. God and His plans, in contrast, are eternal, though He brings His plans to fruition in time. We get worked up over all sorts of things, when if we would genuinely focus our hearts and minds on the Lord in trusting gratitude, His peace would guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7) This is something He has to teach us again and again, because we are so quick to forget it. We do not know how things will turn out in the short term, but we can have absolute assurance and peace about how they will turn out in the end. God’s words to Jeremiah still ring true: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) It literally doesn’t matter what things look like at any given moment, because God is greater than everything, and those who are committed to Christ by faith are in the palm of His hand.

As many times as God has spoken this to me and demonstrated it through circumstances, you’d think I’d know it better! However, yesterday I was irritable and frustrated by a number of things, being less than I should have been to my wife and in a general funk. As the day wore on, God demonstrated that every issue I had been anxious about was already taken care of, and I was gently chided for my lack of faith. I couldn’t tell you how many times this same sort of thing has happened to me. That makes it all the more idiotic when I allow it to happen again! That should give me patience for all the people I deal with who likewise struggle with anxiety of all sorts. I think anxiety is one of the prime characteristics of the fallen nature! As I tell others, it’s not that we are to be passive, or that we don’t need to do our best in everything, it’s that when we are actively pursuing God, the outcome is guaranteed because it’s in His hands. As God said right after He assured Jeremiah of His plans, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you.” (Jeremiah 29:13-14) Jesus expressed it in terms of seeking “God’s kingdom and His righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33) I tell people that all the time, and I need to keep growing in living it out myself.

Father, thank You for Your gentle, gracious patience with me. I would have given up on me a long time ago! Thank You indeed for everything You worked out yesterday, and that I need not be anxious about anything, ever. As You have told me repeatedly, help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, leading and guiding others to do the same, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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