We are living in uncertain times. This is not a statement I would have written a little over a week ago, but today, it is real! As things began to spiral out of control last week, I found myself going to familiar passages like Psalms 23 or others that I knew that would encourage me in the face of my fears. Yes, I have struggled, more so than I would like to admit. A few nights ago this almost paralyzing fear came on with full force! As I heard stories of the people in our community who were “exposed” or getting “a test”, I started to slightly panic! “What if”? I ruminated on this fear over and over until I was beginning to find myself mentally out of control! My husband, whose faith and calm astounds me at times, kept trying to encourage me, but I was “too far gone” to really listen! It was night time, of course, and I was destined to a fitful night of rest at best. As I lay there with all of the thoughts, I started praying. I prayed fervently with “fear and trembling” but I prayed and fell into a restful sleep, and something happened as I slept, something remarkable. I woke up with a new perspective – a completely different perspective and most importantly, peace. The “what ifs” of last night became possibilities not problems; they became opportunities not obstacles; they became blessings not barriers. This is what prayer does, and this is who God is. He really cares about my fears and He met me there.
In I Peter 5:7 , Peter tells the readers, who were Christians under persecution, to “Cast all you anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” As I called out to God that night and “cast my anxiety on Him” He saw my fears and filled me with his Peace.
Later that day a friend sent me the next two verses as a word of encouragement: Be sober-minded and alert. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in your faith and in the knowledge that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. (I Peter 5:8-9)
Being sober minded means having a mind that is clear, not one filled with all sorts of negative thoughts spiralling out of control, but we also must be alert. If we aren’t careful, the devil will sneak up on us with crippling fear and toxic thoughts because he is here to destroy us, all of us! The enemy knows that I am vulnerable to fear, (as many of us are) so he will be looking for ways to “paralyze” me with fear so that I won’t be fruitful for God. Thankfully Peter also gives the antidote to this very real enemy’s plan. First “resist him”. This means to withstand his attack- don’t let him have any power over you by “standing firm in your faith”. The enemy can not have power over us when we stand in what we know to be true! What is the truth that we know? GOD CARES! And we need to add the final verse of this passage: And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
None of us know how long our current state of uncertainty will be with us, but one thing we can be certain of is that GOD CARES, and He is able to take our problems and make them possibilities. He is able to carry all of our burdens and help us resist the enemy’s lies. He is able to make us stand firm and immovable in the midst of difficulties. He alone is able to help us conquer our fears! This is a message for me, for you and for the whole world right now!
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