From the Pastors' Desks

Anxiety

I sat down with my cup of herbal tea this morning (caffeine is currently off the menu) and as I gathered my thoughts I realized that I was anxious and sad. The lengthy list of things I need to do today; the weary list of things I wish were different about church right now; and the ongoing list of my own inadequacies added up to a pretty morose morning. I thought about skipping devotions today so that I could get to work on more important things. But that has never worked well for me in the past, so I picked up my Bible and with very little anticipation started where I had left off – Philippians 4:2. 
 
And the Word spoke to me.
 
The first sentence struck me as unusually relevant to our present context.
“I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to
agree in the Lord.” Philippians 4:2
 
One of the things COVID-19 has spawned is a wave of strong, differing opinions. It is rich soil for division. So what does Paul say?
 
“Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.” Philippians 4:3
 
Lots of good food for thought there. God wants us to “help these women”. People like us get stuck and we need other people to help us. But what struck me as particularly helpful is that when Paul thinks of Euodia and Syntyche he doesn’t just see two bickering women – he sees two co-laborers in the gospel and two saints whose names are written in the book of life. 
 
That’s a really good reminder. The people we find ourselves disagreeing with are our co-laborers in the gospel and their names are in the book of life. Jesus loves them! And so must we.
 
And then it got personal.
 
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;” Philippians 4:4–5
 
God calls me to rejoice – right in the middle of my anxious, sad morning. And there is a really good reason attached... “The Lord is at hand.” In other words, everything is under control – HIS control. My worry had failed to take that singularly vital fact into account.
 
And then the explicit command:
 
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6
 
Followed by a wonderful promise.
 
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
 
So I put down my Bible and took up thankful prayer. (There is so very much to give thanks for!) And I added in my supplications to the Lord who is at hand, and peace began to seep into my anxious soul.
 
It’s going to be a great day.

Pastor Dale

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