St. Peter gives us a wonderful passage in his first epistle: “Cast all your anxieties upon Him because He cares for you.” February is dimmed by mid-winter blahs and with it come anxieties beyond measure. We need to focus on Peter’s words.
You and I are Christians. We are children of God Almighty. We are heirs of all God’s blessings including heaven. Our Savior has conquered all our enemies including death, on our behalf. He has triumphed over all our fears (anxieties). He promises us to never “leave nor forsake you.” He adds, via Paul in Romans, that “all things will work for the good to those who love God.” So, why do we still doubt Him? Why don’t we trust Him fully? The short answer is: our own sinful nature. But let’s delve into that so that we can work on a solution that will help us out of our emotional/spiritual doldrums.
My favorite prayer is the old Collect for Peace, which asks for: “peace that we may pass our time in rest and quietness.” The problem arises when someone or something hits us with the unexpected and peace and quietness are upended! I suppose it’s all about our control tendencies and in these cases the sudden lack thereof. Suddenly you feel helpless. YOU cannot handle it. Then comes the temptation to give in to hopelessness. Your nights are fitful and sleep (real rest) comes hard. During the day you run various scenarios around in your head concerning what you did, or didn’t do, that brought such consternation into your life. You run through your human solutions. You pray for help. And the bottom line is you have to trust in God’s goodness, but what you really desire is human verification and resolution. So, the issue, whether it be: financial, health related, or inter-personal; robs you of your joy over life. It’s not fun. And all of us go through such times.
Then, by God’s grace, what we have heard at church with our ears finally breaks into our hearts. What is that Eureka! moment? Just this: I’m not going to let something I cannot control, control me! I’m not going to let the machinations of this world rob me of my joy. My life is too short and time is too precious to live in fear and to let anxiety take over. God is watching over me and He won’t let anything destroy my happiness and contentment. He still loves me. He still died for me. He still blesses me. So, as the Psalmist says: “What can man do (truly do) to me?”
At the end of this February we will begin the season of Lent. It is a time of introspection with the attendant anxieties of a long winter, dark nights, and various dark thoughts. Lent means we will see our emotional pain clearly and also see what God has done to take it away from us, meaning: The Cross and the Empty Tomb. So, continue to listen to St. Paul and fervently: “Cast all your anxieties upon Christ because He really, truly, does: care for you.” The truth of Lent proves it once again.
Pastor Thomas H. Fox