Some days I can get so anxious. I too often try to project myself into the future, both near and far, and it only adds stress to my life. That is a rare occurrence for me…stress that is. I live about a 95% stress-free life. Now don’t confuse that with not having stressors in my life. If you’re breathing you have stressors. But as I’ve taught my children, don’t ever stress about a situation. If you have control over it, don’t worry about it. If you don’t have control over it, don’t worry about it. In other words, if you can do something about it, do it! If you can’t, well then put feet to your faith and watch God work it all out. Simple principle that is not always easy to live out.
As the fourth anniversary of Eddie’s death approaches and the final arrangements for the banquet come up, I’m sure I’ll at least be anxious if not stressed. Part of that is knowing that a meltdown is just around the corner but that too is a part of God’s grace. He allows me to grieve over Eddie privately so that I don’t do so at the banquet. I know there are no guarantees but the banquet is about celebrating Eddie’s life and glorifying God, not watching me have a breakdown.
The big picture to keep focused on in all of life is where does all of this fit into eternity. One of my favorite Bible passages comes from the Apostle Paul writing from a Philippian jail:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)
Paul is telling us to take it to the Lord, no matter what we are facing we can still rejoice, not in our troubles and tribulations, but in the Lord, knowing that what we are facing, we are not doing it alone. In the midst of unspeakable grief we can experience not peace FROM God, but the peace OF God through prayer and supplication with a heart of thankfulness. And all of this is possible because of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus is our Divine Keeper; that is why He called us Sheep and He the Good Shepherd:
“Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.’” (John 10:7-11)
I awoke with the chorus to MercyMe’s song “Only Temporary” in my head:
There’s a reason why this world just don’t feel right
Cause we are strangers who are simply passing by
In light of all eternity
It’s only temporary
In the spiritual battles we face daily it is easy to forget that we who are born again are under the blood of Jesus. That means He is our Protector from all evil, not that we are isolated from it but that we are protected, that is insulated, from it. Again Paul writes:
“But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you. Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
Many of you are in my prayer chain and no doubt read the prayer request from Mrs. Joyce about a young pastor whose mother was shot dead yesterday. This pastor is to be married next month; how do you deal with a blow like that, and how do you go on in life? On your own you don’t, but I can testify that in the midst of such anguish and grief, when we are at our weakest that is when Jesus comes through greater than ever. And it is humbling beyond words to experience this grace:
“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
Beloved, I do not know what the future holds; I just know I need to let go of it. I also know that we have a Savior named King Jesus who has overcome this world, has defeated death, and will return one day to establish His kingdom here on earth. That alone is enough for me to rest in, but eternal life with Christ will be so much more.
And so when I am anxious and looking around instead of up, I pray the Holy Spirit reminds me, through a song if necessary, that in light of all eternity, what we are facing today is only temporary.
I’ll be leaving early tomorrow morning to guest host on our local morning radio show here in NW Florida so there won’t a devotional. That will give some of you a chance to pick up your bibles where you left it Sunday ;>) and open it up and read the proverb for the day, which will be Proverbs 19. That as good a place as any to start a Bible reading regimen.
Have a blessed weekend and please remember to go to church on Sunday.
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Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers