Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4:4-6, NIV*
Steph Beth Nickel’s guest post last Friday was titled “Do Not Be Anxious About Anything — Even the Good Stuff.” If you’ve read it, you know she shared some hard-earned wisdom. (If you haven’t, just click the link.)
After I’d scheduled a tweet to share her post, I went to double-check it and I misread the title to say “Do Not Be Obnoxious About Anything.” This was near bedtime, and I found it funny.
But I think there’s wisdom there too. What do we do when we’re anxious or stressed? We tense up, speed up, put up defenses. Some of us get obnoxious.
What does Paul say here? “Let your gentleness be evident to all.” Why? “Because the Lord is near.”
God’s got this. Whatever this is. And whatever happens, He’ll be right there with us, able to work even in the worst messes.
Because God is near, Paul tells us to bring our concerns to Him. We can be confident that He already knows what He wants to do in the situation. It may not be what we want, but if we truly believe Him to be wise, good, powerful and loving, we can choose to trust Him.
As Stephanie said, it really comes down to a question of whether we trust God or not.
Holy and majestic God of the universe, it’s scandalous to even suggest You’re not trustworthy, yet You know our weakness and our doubts, and the fears that snare us, and You know sometimes we don’t trust You. Or we don’t act on the trust we think we have. Please forgive us and help our unbelief. Help us surrender the fight or flight reflex that can make us obnoxious. Teach us to rely on Your goodness and Your presence, so we can show others how good You are.