We’re in the midst of a very surreal chapter of our lives. I’m feeling anxious and bit scared, and I suspect you may be, too.
If you know God’s Word, you know that life brings trials. (If you don’t know God’s Word, please stay with me: you might need it right now more than you know.)
In the Bible, Jesus told his disciples to expect trials. We read this in John 16:32–33, as Jesus explained to them where he was going, before he was accused, tried, and condemned to die on the cross. The Message Bible translation reads, “The Father is with me. I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”
This passage begs so many questions for me. How do I keep trusting? How do I stay (or become, for that matter) unshakable and assured in my faith? How do I become deeply at peace?
Strangely enough, I already know the answers to all these questions—I’m just not always great at following through on what I know I need to do. Sound familiar? If so, I may be able to help.
When my spirit is troubled and the worries of the world swirl outside my windows, I need to rest in God, to be still and hear from Him. As soon as I recognize anxiety taking root in my heart, I know I’m at a crossroads. In one direction, toward fear, my mind darts about, frantically trying to sort out all the uncertainties spiraling in chaos. But in the other direction, toward faith, I find reassurance, peace, and sanity. These polar opposite experiences show me that fear is clearly unproductive, but faith is full of hope and healing.
But in order to choose the path of faith, I need to remind myself of God’s promises—of His goodness and faithfulness. In The Message Bible, I hear God talking to me in a real, authentic voice, using accessible language I can process easily. When I really need to hear from God, The Message Bibletranslation speaks a fresh word into my life and calms my anxious heart.
Here are some of my go-to passages from The Message Biblewhen I’m struggling with anxiety.
Proverbs 3:5–6 in The Message Bibletranslation instructs,“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.”
In The Message Devotional Bible, Eugene Peterson adds this encouraging commentary: “Life is far too complex to figure out by ourselves. But God will simplify it and show us the direction to maturity. He will keep us on track. En route, the track passes by some breathtakingly beautiful scenery. And for the one who trusts God, it is a land for homesteading.”
In other words, friends, settle in, trust God, and He will show us the way.
The same God who raised Jesus from the dead is the God who surrounds your life. . . . Suddenly the Resurrection moves from the area of the spectacular to the area of personal involvement. . . . What are we to do about it? Shelve it away as a dusty piece of doctrine? Or live it, depending on the power of God—who raised Jesus—to raise us, to raise our marriages from the dead, to raise our hopes, our faith, our dreams?
Our assurance comes from knowing that the God of the Bible—the same God who raised Jesus from the dead—is the God who loves us and promises to work all things together for our good.
Based on this truth, Hebrews 10:23–25calls us to action: “So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word.”
Take hold of this good and necessary advice, especially in difficult times.
Friend, God is near, working through the Holy Spirit to make His Word clear for us. We are assured of this when Jesus says in John 14:25–27,
I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.
To receive the gift of peace that Jesus promises, we need to be intentional about stepping away from the whirlwind around us and tune in to God. As The Message Bibleinstructs us in 1 Peter 3: 11, “run after peace for all you’re worth.”
In these uncertain times, let’s seek Jesus with all that’s in us, to experience God’s peace for the journey ahead.