Tears filled my eyes threatening to spill over. Just the thought of going in to work, after a week’s absence due to illness, overwhelmed and exhausted me. I could imagine the stacks and stacks of mail and paper that had piled up while I was out. Not to mention the overdue items that didn’t get done. I wasn’t looking forward to going back to the office, even if it meant I was well and recuperated.
I just wanted to run away.
While I was laying there in bed, working myself into a tizzy, I realized that running away is the norm for me when I’m stressed. I would just rather not handle the problems.
Most times, I couldn’t physically run. But I would dream of the perfect, relaxing vacation in a mountain cabin. Or perhaps, I would lose myself in a great fiction book, so I wouldn’t have to face my problems head-on. Anything, not to have to deal with all the anxiety causing problems.
One thing that I knew for a fact: I would be irritable and cranky when I got back to work, snapping at everyone who came near. I didn’t want that to happen, either! What was I to do?
Then, I remembered the scripture in Philippians about not being anxious.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
I began praying that scripture for my situation. “Lord, please calm my worries. Father, thank you that I have a job, thank you that I am healing from this sickness.”
And then I noticed the verses just before this one.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Philippians 4:4-5 (NIV)
Rejoice always? Let my gentleness be evident? Oh, goodness, how was I going to do this? Tears threatened once again. I felt completely defeated. There was no way I could do this. Rejoice at all the piles of work? Be gentle with everyone who wanted a piece of my time, when I was trying to catch up? How Lord, how?
Because, I am near. I heard Him whisper in my ear. Keep reading My word. You will find a way.
That night, I fell into bed, determined to get a good night’s sleep in order to be rested and refreshed for the next day. Midnight found me wide awake, worrying about my tomorrow. Then I heard the truth of God’s word once again: The Lord is near.
What comfort those words brought me. The Lord is near in the blackest darkness, as I plod through the muck and the mire of life.
The Lord is near on the brightest of days, when joy abounds and all is right with the world.
He is near, even when I don’t feel Him. Jesus is near, no matter how I feel. My feelings can deceive me, but the truth of God’s word stands!
Not only is Jesus close to us, He promised that He would never leave us (Hebrews 13:5).
When circumstances threaten to overwhelm you, replace your anxiety with these truths:
The Lord is near.
He will never leave you.
You have Christ in you.
I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
Grace be with you,