Conversation took an anxiety fork-in-life at a dinner party the other night when the subject turned to the state of our world. One lady announced she had just received her food survival supply that would last her two or three years should everything go-to-hell in that Dior bag.
With the deluge in Texas this past month, I had my own chaotic moment last Friday when I walked out onto the patio during an interlude in the storm to find run-off water inching over the slab stabilizing our air-conditioning unit. Terror of what the water would do to the unit, fear of the electricity and water combo, amped my anxious level to bell-ringing jangles.
Then last night, just before bedtime, a tornado warning blared from our weather radio. The rotating storm seemed to be swirling along the same path the Van tornadoes had traveled a few weeks prior. And I was anxious. Anxious over the security of all my stuff as we finally settled in for a troubled night’s sleep—just me, hubs, and the weather radio.
And today there’s the nagging fear over saturated soil and standing water around the foundation of our home. The blackland area of East Texas, where we live, expands when wet and contracts, cracks, and heaves when dry. Foundation problems cost jillions of dollars to repair. Dollars we don’t have.
So what’s tapping a dance over your anxious buttons today? Family problems? Financial woes? Health issues? World affairs? The list of potential hazards could fill a book, couldn’t they?
But God says:
“Do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?…Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. …But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore, do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”(Matthew 6:25-34 NAS).
So what are we supposed to do when the weather radio shrieks warning? When the world scene screams disaster? And when our country or our families seem to be on a downward spiral toward ruin? Fold our hands, kick back with a glass of tea, and just read our Bibles and pray?
Is that what God instructs? I don’t think so.
God gave you and me a brain and an ability to think. Instead of knuckling to an anxious muddle, I’m to use my God given ability to ask Him to help me think and act.
Last night, while sirens ripped the air, I called several neighbors I knew who wouldn’t have been listening to the news. Then I took my laptop and jump drives containing my soon-to-be published book and the beginning twelve chapters of its sequel and stashed them, along with a few other valuables, in what I hoped would be a safe place should the tornado strike.
And when I saw the water topping the air-conditioning slab last Friday, I grabbed a shovel, flipped the circuit breaker, and dug a shallow ditch to allow the backed-up water a place to drain. And it did.
God tells us “In this world you will have trouble…” but we are not to despair, “…He has overcome the world.” And He lays out a plan of action to lasso and rein in our ready-to-panic fears.
“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 comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NAS).
So how does that work out in real time? First of all I say thank you. “Thank You, Lord, for the rain. We’ve asked You to send rain to end the drought, and You’ve been faithful. I’m Yours Lord, and everything around me, all these worldly goods, You’ve provided. It’s all Yours, to give or take away.” Then I’m to ask for what I think I need, according to His word. “Give me wisdom to know what to do, when to do it, and how to do what is needed.”
Yes, we heard the weather radio all through the night, but God was gracious to allow us to go right back to sleep. And this time there were no tornadoes. But I can affirm, other times the storms have inflicted damage in our lives—the loss of a daughter—the loss of jobs—financial woes—life threatening health problems—but God has always been faithful to carry us safely through life’s hazards and given us that promised peace to “…guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
And child of God, He will do the same for you…if you ask Him. And to those of you who haven’t placed your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ yet, the Spirit says:
“Come unto Me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My load is light” (Matthew 11: 28-30 NAS).