by Paula Sprigg
This Week's Verse: Psalms 94:19, "When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."(NIV)
Do you remember the lyrics of this popular song from several years ago? "Anticipation… Anticipation… is makin' me late - is keepin' me waitin' …." They were actually written by Carly Simon, but made popular by Heinz Ketchup. If you'll recall, someone was holding a bottle of ketchup over the hamburger and waiting, anticipating the savory taste of the ketchup on the freshly grilled burger. WOW--sort of makes you hungry, doesn't it ?
Or maybe you recall the days of your youth (mine seem to be getting farther and farther behind me!), and the anticipation of Christmas, or birthdays, or summer break from school. Or possibly you can recall the dreaded anticipation of the beginning of the school year--new friends, new teachers, new classes, lots of homework--the fear and anxiety of the unknown!
Caleb plays football as do several of his friends. One of those friends, Sheldon, lives nearby and so our two families trade rides to and from football. The boys catch a ride to football practice with me, and then they get a ride home from Sheldon's parents. Last Wednesday evening, I picked Sheldon up at the prescribed time and when he got in the car I asked him how he was, if he'd had a good day, etc. I'm sure you've had a conversation like this before, the kind where the adult asks the kid various questions about their day, and the basic answers are yes, no, good, uh-huh, huh-uh. So we had the usual dialogue, and then it was quiet for a short time.
And then the conversation went something like this:
Sheldon: Hey Caleb, are you ready for school tomorrow?
Caleb (giving me an odd, terrified sort of look): HUH????
Me (giving them both an odd look): School doesn't start tomorrow.
Sheldon (with a VERY puzzled look): WHAT???
Me: Today is Wednesday, and school doesn't start until Friday.
Sheldon: Huh-uh….. (continuing to look a little puzzled as the truth sunk in.)
Me: Yeah. You have another day of freedom tomorrow!
Sheldon (with a look of surprise and relief): WOW! I can't believe it. I've been thinking about it, and dreading it all day long! I thought school started tomorrow.
We had a good laugh after that (at Sheldon's expense of course!). And we talked about the fact that they did in fact, have one more day of freedom and how glad they were for the 'extra' day! But as we continued the drive to town, I had to ponder the fact that he had 'worried' about it all day. Something that was beyond his control (school starting, the end of summer break), had worried him, occupied his thoughts and caused him to have a sense of dread all day.
Then I thought about my own life, and how often I allow things over which I have no control to worry me, occupy my thoughts, and cause me to have a sense of dread or anxiety--sometimes for much longer than just a day, sometimes until my stomach hurts and I am physically ill. I worry about my kids, my soon-to-arrive grandbaby, Ruthie and how she'll handle Nate's absence during Basic Training and Tech School, the economy, a job, and the list could go on and on and on. (Wow, sort of makes me feel a little ill.) I try to convince myself NOT to worry, to let God have control and lead. And I will readily admit that I'm not very good at giving that part of my life over to God.
Last week at church, we sang a song about God being "unchangeable, unshakeable, unstoppable... That's what You are… You are God alone… and before time began, You were on Your throne, You were God alone, and right now in the good times and bad, You are on Your throne, You are God alone." And I had chills as we sang this song because at that moment, the reality of God's love and provision struck me very hard (and I need that now and then!) The reality that HE IS in control of EVERYTHING sunk in to the very depths of my soul.
And I prayed that He would protect my family, provide what I need according to His will for my life, give us peace in difficult times, help me feel His presence even when I'm unsure of what's coming next. And at that moment, I had peace and assurance that He WILL provide just what I need, just as I need it according to HIS perfect plan. And today I'm very sure that he holds the future, and I don't have a thing to worry about!
Dear God, help me to give it all to you knowing that you're already well aware of not only my concerns, but also the outcome whether it's tomorrow or years from now. I pray, Dear God, that you would remind me that I must not worry or be anxious about anything--that I need to give it all to you, and if necessary, on a daily basis name my concerns one by one even though you know them already. I thank you for your calming presence each and every day of my life, and pray that I would learn to trust you more and more. Amen.
Are you worried about something? Do you have something that occupies your thoughts, something that gives you a sense of dread or anxiety? Cast ALL of your cares on Him, and He will give you the peace that you need!
Matthew 6:34, "Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."(NIV)
Psalms 94:19, "When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."(NIV)
Philippians 4:6-7, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."(NIV)
I Peter 5:7, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."(NIV)