Find your (His) peace!

Philippians 4:5-7 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.

“Don’t be anxious”…even though it’s a perfectly natural response to mounting threats; sickness, finances, employment, uncertainty, emotional stress, family crises…Nevertheless, it says, “Don’t be anxious about anything”. Instead, pray!

But does that really work? How many can affirm, even testify, that praying relieves anxiety about real and present threats and dangers? Anxiety is a powerful emotional condition, even expressing in physical symptoms; stomach upsets, cramps, heart palpitations, headaches, ruminations, muscle contractions, indigestion, cold extremities, dilated pupils, numbness, emotional outbursts, fits of anger, etc. etc. And there are all kinds of prescribed and/or self medications, including everything from beer to valium, or simply the internet…

But is prayer really and truly an effective solution for anxiety? If you can honestly answer “Yes”, you are not a novice at praying.

Psalm 62:8 … “Trust in Him at all times, people, pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah (which kind of means ‘pause for an easy breath’).” When you pour out your heart to someone, is time a factor? When you know she’s really listening and caring about your situation, and has something to offer, do you expect to feel better after you have emptied your soul? It sounds simple, even perfunctory, but praying out your anxiety implies really trusting the Person you’re talking to, and taking the time to empty your heart and soul before Him. That’s what God wants you to do.

If and when you do that, and thoroughly, you may find yourself in a peace (a “shalom”) which passes comprehension, because you hardly expected it when you started out. What’s amazing about this passage is the hidden mystery of that Shalom, a Hebrew word with such wonderful compound meaning it requires a basketful of English words to be inadequately translated: peace, completeness, prosperity, safety, contentment, health, blessing, and rest, among others.

See if you can manage to experience this when anxiety strikes. Test it and see for yourself if praying can really alleviate your fears. God’s peace is there for you and it will pass all understanding; and most especially in these times … wouldn’t it be great to constantly walk in that shalom, His shalom?

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