Devotional – Thursday, April 23, 2020

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 transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Consider this scenario: A new health crisis focused on a new strain of a virus with an extraordinary likelihood of exponential growth inundates the world. Hospitals are at critical mass capacities in efforts to cure those exhibiting symptomatic signs of the virus. To help combat the virus’ imminent growth, some elected officials make suggestions, (others, orders) to stay isolated and away from the general populace. Subsequently, jobs are lost and employment furloughs are issued. Businesses consequently are shuttered, some perhaps permanently. Humans are thereby forced to relinquish their most underlying need – emotional connectivity. Some do not know from where their next meals will come. Summarily, depression, hysteria, and strife set in and the world becomes chaotic. 

Sound familiar? 

Stress is never easy to overcome, save for the select few who actually thrive upon it. For the vast majority of people, stress can lead to hurtful words, severed relationships, excessive drug and alcohol abuse, and most unfortunately, suicide and homicide. The protocols for overcoming stress are rarely promoted, for each person handles stress differently. But, alas, there is a silver lining to the dark cloud that stress generates – the knowledge that our loving God will alleviate our burdens, will quell our fears, and will eradicate our suffering, simply by believing in, praying to, and humbly supplicating of our God for peace and tranquility.   

It is purported that, while imprisoned, Paul penned his epistle to the Philippians. Philippians 4:6-7 shows the vast amount of love that God has for us and trust that we must have in God. Paul encourages us not “to be anxious,” but rather to not “be anxious about anything.” Paul outlines a step-by-step protocol exactly how we can overcome our anxieties and stress: “by prayer and supplication.” Each of us can understand the emotion of situations that we care most about being out of our control, but Paul offers us some comfort. As Christians, we have a way to acknowledge our stress and even plead in our despair and feel that we are not alone. Now and forevermore, the peace of God will guard us in Christ Jesus.

The peace of God will be delivered to us if we choose prayer and trust during times of stress in our lives. God’s peace is unexplainable, as God can and will respond during times of difficulty in our lives. God’s peace will guard our hearts, because everything we do “flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23), and our minds in Christ Jesus. Through our unity with each other in the midst of our disagreements, again we will begin to bask in God’s peace. 

God’s promise of protection, peace, and love, then, provide for each of us the protocol for handling our stressful circumstances. And while on the periphery, the stresses caused by our current conditions may seem daunting and everlasting, there is much for which to be thankful. After all, King Solomon had a ring fabricated and adorned with an engraving of the Hebrew phrase, “Gam ze ya’avor,” which translates in English to, “And this, too, shall pass.” 

So, as you sit today in isolation, perhaps feeling stressful about your future financial position or your need for physical human contact, remember Numbers 6:26, God is with you and He will lift his countenance upon you and give you peace. And, once you do pray and ask for God’s help, know that no health crisis nor negative situation can possibly prevail. 

What an amazing feeling it will be to be granted God’s peace, and soon, in person, shake each other’s hands, knowing that we came out of our stressful storm. 

God is SO good! Amen?

Offered by Trey Earle

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