“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
I wrote 2019 on something the other day and once again I was caught off guard as to how swiftly the previous year had flown by.
A new year suddenly stretches before us with all its unknowns; hopes for “smooth sailing” but always aware that the “storm clouds” could gather on the horizon at any moment.
What should our spiritual temperament be as we once again sail out through the breakwaters of a new year’s beginning into the vast sea of life’s possibilities?
The Apostle Paul tells us in his letter to the church at Philippi: “Be anxious for nothing!”
Is this some extreme concept of denial he is promoting? No, not at all. Another translation might say as follows: “In any and all of life’s circumstances, be not anxious.”
Then he (by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) instructs us how to accomplish this. “But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known.”
What’s the difference between prayer and supplication? One might say prayer is the method of our petitions and supplication is the attitude of our prayers. Supplication denotes humility in prayer. A humility that goes so far as to say, “Nevertheless not my will but Thine be done.”
I believe there is a direct correlation between the lack of our anxious thoughts and the maturity of our Christlike character as evidenced by the development of our faith and trust in Him.
Last Sunday as my wife and I were sitting in our Sunday School class, I looked around at my brothers and sisters whom we have come to know and love.
Our class is not large, maybe forty or fifty people. A couple rows away sat a young couple who just recently lost their teenage daughter in a tragic car wreck. Across the aisle from me sat a man who is in a stage four cancer situation. A couple rows behind us sat a lovely couple, about our age, who are now walking through the difficult journey of a Parkinson’s diagnosis in his body. Another couple with very heart-breaking challenges with a child. And there Linda and I sit, still waiting for some news regarding treatment for her cancer.
On and on it goes throughout our church family, in our community and undoubtedly in yours as well.
So, how can I/we minister to those all around us in similar circumstances? Always and forever by the truth of God’s Word!
I believe it was the next day after this assessment of the needs all around us that I read this wonderful writing from Charles Spurgeon that I would like to share with you in hopes that it will encourage you as it did us.
O child of suffering, be thou patient; God has not passed thee over in His providence. He who is the feeder of sparrows, will also furnish you with what you need. Sit not down in despair; hope on, hope ever. Take up the arms of faith against a sea of trouble, and your opposition shall yet end your distresses. There is One who careth for you. His eye is fixed on you, His heart beats with pity for your woe, and his hand omnipotent shall yet bring you the needed help. The darkest cloud shall scatter itself in showers of mercy. The blackest gloom shall give place to the morning. He, if thou art one of His family, will bind up thy wounds, and heal thy broken heart. Doubt not His grace because of thy tribulation, but believe that He loveth thee as much in seasons of trouble as in times of happiness. What a serene and quiet life might you lead if you would leave providing to the God of providence! With a little oil in the cruse, and the handful of meal in the barrel, Elijah outlived the famine, and you will do the same. If God cares for you, why need you care too? Can you trust Him for your soul, and not for your body? He has never refused to bear your burdens, He has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul, have done with fretful care, and leave all thy concerns in the hand of a gracious God.
(From: Morning and Evening
By: Charles Spurgeon)
I know I’ve said this before, but allow me to repeat it once again: “Fret not thyself, fear not and be anxious for nothing” must apply to any and every situation or they have no application whatsoever!
His sufficient grace must assure us and give us confidence that even in the midst of our “shipwrecks” He is doing “all things well,” contrary to our temporal observations and assessments.
And what is the fruit or benefit of this discipline of guarding against anxious thoughts?
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
As is often the case, many of us have embarked on the journey of a new year making various resolutions.
I’ve resolved (now that I’m 70) to take better care of myself: eat better, exercise more, lose weight and build muscle. You have probably made similar or varying resolutions yourself. Good for you! But wouldn’t it be far more beneficial to us all if we resolved, according to God’s Word to guard against anxious thoughts?
If we are His, He will always be faithful to grant us grace, minister His mercy and lavish His love upon us through every circumstance.
“Be Anxious for Nothing!”