I was talking to someone the other day just before we were all ordered to stay home and he asked me what I thought was going to happen tomorrow, my reply was simple – I don’t know what’s going to happen in an hour! It feels like we are living in very uncertain times but in reality, there is nothing new, nothing different about this week then the same time last year in regard to our security. We had only been lulled into a false sense of security, life is fragile, health is fragile, and the economy is incredibly fragile. Sorry if that does not make you feel any better, if you are anxious it does not help to tell you that what you are feeling now, you should have been feeling all along. There is good news though, we have a loving God who is very much in control!
That false sense of security is nothing new, it is undoubtedly much worse in our current era of self-reliance but has been a trap since the day Adam ceased to trust God and no longer believed that He was good and in control. It is in this delusional state that we all believe and tell one another that we are okay. God rebuked the false prophets and teachers for giving people a false sense of security. They felt secure because they had made a dirty, weak wall look strong and secure by painting it white…
Precisely because they have misled my people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, and because, when the people build a wall, these prophets smear it with whitewash, say to those who smear it with whitewash that it shall fall! There will be a deluge of rain, and you, O great hailstones, will fall, and a stormy wind break out. And when the wall falls, will it not be said to you, ‘Where is the coating with which you smeared it?’ Ezekiel 13:10-13
They ignorantly relied on a wall to protect them from their enemies, a weak and failing wall instead of trusting God. We are no better off, believing that our technology, money, and healthcare will save us, yet here we are realizing that all of our systems and structures appear much stronger than they really are.
So what now? Here we all are realizing that we have relied on the unreliable and we are afraid of what the future holds. The answer is to hope and trust that God is good and in control. But God is a crutch for the weak– this is a retort I have heard many times as I have shared the good news of Jesus. I am told that those who are weak rely on a fictional god that makes them feel better. In reality, we are all weak and we were created to live under Gods protection and care, yet we have created our own crutches to lean on. Many are now realizing that these created crutches cannot support and provide the security they were hoped to provide.
The God who created all things is still in control of all things and He shows His love and care for all of us as we have turned away and no longer trust Him. We have instead turned to trust ourselves and things that we have created and now we are anxious and afraid. God provides in many ways for all of the world but His grace is shown primarily to us in that He sent His son Jesus to take on our sin and rebellion. Jesus died in our place so that we might once again be reconciled to God and trust in Him. Jesus spoke often and very lovingly to those who followed him and encouraged them to not be afraid. The Apostle Paul knew very well what it meant to live in turmoil, chaos, and impending death yet he reminds us of the cure for anxiety which he surely practiced on a daily basis.
The Lord is at hand
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
The key to this passage is the phrase “the Lord is at hand” which is all too easy to pass over but when you pause and reflect on this truth we realize the weight that it carries. The rest of this passage is empty without it. What good are our requests, prayer and rejoicing if we cannot be reasonable and know that God is at hand.
What should you do with this? That depends on who you are;
Christian: Be encouraged and know that God is good and in control and hears your prayers. He promises to use all things for your good and His glory and has the power to do it. He is present and working. God has adopted many to be His children and to follow Him through the blood of Jesus and has told us to encourage and pray for one another as well as to provide practical help. Humble yourself and ask for help from God and other believers.
Unbeliever: Do you see how you have turned from God and trusted in other things or people? The much more dangerous false sense of security is believing that you are living at peace with God when you are in fact His enemy. It is an incredible act of mercy and love that God would pursue those who have rebelled against Him and provide a way to be reconciled by trusting in Jesus. Now you have an opportunity to turn from trusting in weak man made “gods” and be reconciled to God. When you realize this and ask God for forgiveness, He will provide it and you can run to Him and live under His protection and in His presence as you were created to.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:6-11
Don’t get me wrong, there is much to fear. People are losing their jobs, people are getting sick and some are even dying but the more we turn from a false sense of security and trust in the Creator of the universe, the more we can carry our fears to Him.
I hope this is helpful, I will be writing more about how to deal with fear and anxiety soon. If you have questions, would like to know more about Jesus or need help please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org