“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:5–6, NIV84)
I have to admit that the Lord has a great sense of humor when it comes to dealing with me. Lately, I have been talking to people close to me about being “anxious” about stuff going in my life and ministry, and today, the Lord has me doing a devotion on a verse I memorized a long time ago that talks about being anxious. So here it goes. It’s the words “Do not be…” that seem to mess me up. Maybe you, too. How can we not be anxious about things? There seems to be so much to be anxious about — work, kids, money, health, relationships, hopes, and dreams, etc. Our thoughts move toward those topics and soon we’re feeling anxious. Why? Because we do not like the unknown. We want to see, understand, and know what today and tomorrow have in store for us.
With all that said, how can Paul tell us not to be anxious? He must have had questions about a lot of the same topics. There is a hint in verse 5. Paul says, “The Lord is near.” You see, we do not need to be anxious about today or tomorrow because we have a God who knows all about them and He is very near to us. We don’t necessarily need to know all the details as long as we know that God does. Jeremiah says, “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” (Jer. 29:11). So Paul tells us not to be worried or anxious (what good would that do us anyway?), but to come to the Lord who is near with our prayers and petitions. He tells us to bring all of our requests to God. The unstated conclusion is that God will answer our prayers and bring peace to our anxious hearts (we will talk about that in tomorrow’s devotion).
So today, let’s let go of fear, worry, and anxiety. Let’s call on our Lord and Savior, who is very near.