MAY 13, 2014
From Panic to Peace
"So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17 (NKJV)
Here I am, lying in bed, staring at the ceiling. No sleep. Body still, mind racing. Panic building.
I forgot to contact Pat today. She's so sick and probably needed me.
Did my daughter realize she hurt my feelings with that comment?
What if I don't make my deadline?
I should have exercised today.
Why does life seem darker at night? Not just literally. It's as though Satan and his minions are just waiting for me to be alone so they can begin the battle for my mind.
Recently I began to meditate on Philippians 4:6a: "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything" (NLT). Did the Apostle Paul really mean not to worry about anything? Is that even possible? Isn't worry just part of human nature?
Yes, worry is part of our human nature. Unfortunately when sin entered the world, emotions like worry did too. However, our fallen human nature always clarifies what being separated from God looks like. And it often looks like fear.
As God's beloved children, we are called to faith, not fear. Faith says, "God is in charge of my life; I will trust Him, even when circumstances might suggest He's not there. I believe God loves me and knows what is best for me." Faith always crowds out fear.
My heart longs to live in faith; however, at times this is difficult. But here's the key: "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).
If I haven't made time to hear from God through His Word, I find my prayers being more of a monologue of fear-based worry.
But when I make time to listen to God, I'm reminded of His promises and I become familiar with His voice. As a result, my prayers really do change from panic to praise. In bed at night, a dialogue evolves (no longer a monologue). When I turn to God with my concerns, I can hear His response. As John 10:27a tells us, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them ..." (ESV).
God's Word reminds us to put the kingdom of God first and the things we need will be ours (Matthew 6:33, ESV). In other words, when I devote myself to God first, all the rest will sort itself out, and this brings peace.
What is most pressing in your life right now? Whatever that is, put God's Word there instead. Replace worry with the truth of God's love and power. Then we can trust that God will do as He says:"keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed" on Him (Isaiah 26:3a, ESV).
As I think about God's promises, panic turns to praise, praise turns to peace and peace turns to sleep. I begin to understand what Paul meant when he said, "Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand" (Philippians 4:7a, NLT).
It is possible to experience God's peace. When we learn to cast our cares on God and trust Him to handle them, faith replaces fear. Worry sees problems, but faith sees the God who can handle the problems.
God's Word changes how we cast our cares. When we choose to cast them onto Him instead of into the air, we'll find comfort in His promises. Then maybe we can finally get a good night's sleep.
Heavenly Father, thank You for watching over me at night. Forgive me for the times I have worried. Help me to be devoted to You and Your love, not my circumstances. Instead of tossing and turning at night, I want to remember to turn the pages of Scripture in my mind. I want to rest in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 4:8, "In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe." (NLT)
Isaiah 26:3, "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." (ESV)
Is worry a struggle for you? If so, you'll appreciate Nancy McGuirk's new eight-week Bible study, Philippians: To Live Is Christ. To receive a sample of Nancy's DVD teaching series on Philippians, click here.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
How can you make time in your day for more of God's Word? Write down your current worries and look for God's promises in response to each concern.
Consider making a "to think" list each day, instead of a "to do" list. List the promises of God that apply to your life and meditate on them.
© 2014 by Nancy McGuirk. All rights reserved.
Originally published Tuesday, 13 May 2014.