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An Absence of Peace

It’s true confession time. I’m a worrywart from way back. As a woman who once worried big-time, I suffered from an ulcer, stomach pains, and a nervous rash on both my arms. Yes, I went to doctors, and yes, I took medication. There was improvement in the symptoms. But doctors and pills and salves couldn’t remedy my worry.

So I turned to God. I read my Bible and prayed for God’s help with my worry problem. Praise God, I’m now a recovering worrier, thanks to His guiding Spirit. Through it all, I have learned some shocking truths about worry.

The term worry encompasses many things:

To feel uneasy, troubled
To be overcome with a nagging concern
To be plagued with doubts
Worry is a response to something that is going on in a person’s life.
Worry is a condition produced when no solution is seen.
Worry is an action that has no legitimate basis.
Worry is a condition that affects everyone.
Worry is a reaction that produces no positive results.
Worry is the absence of peace.
Worry is a sin that denies the power of God.

In the biblical sense, worry means to have a sinful, willful distraction that pulls your trust away from God. (That’s troubling!) But, in a personal sense it means to have an anxiety that you need to unload to God. (That’s comforting.)

In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul tells believers:

Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus.

The original Greek word used here for “anxious” or worry describes being pulled in different directions. The way the apostle Paul used this phrase, “Be anxious for nothing” meant to stop a practice that had been going on habitually. Evidently his readers were worrying on a routine basis. This adds to our definitions above that worry is a bad habit that can be broken. It’s not an emotion; it’s not uncontrollable. Another conclusion to realize that when you and I worry, we are dismissing God’s presence in our life.

But, Paul gives us 5 components for the antidote to worry:

“Prayer” — speaks of adoration addressed to God as an act of worship and devotion.
“Supplication” — this comes from a word that means to humbly ask for one’s needs.
“Thanksgiving” — this refers to expressing appreciation and gratitude.
“Requests” — this emphasizes specific requests versus asking in generalities.

And finally the most important component:

“The Recipient” – God is the recipient of our prayers and the basis of our hope in all circumstances. The Lord is always present at your side. His Son’s death has provided for your sins, and you are now His child. God is watching over you, and He will never leave you. And He is always working for your best (Romans 8:28). So we have no excuses to worry in the face of these totally trustworthy promises!

We can exhale now. Peace is ours. As you are faithful to pray and cast your cares upon Jesus, He provides assuring peace. His peace is powerful, like a sentinel who stands guard and patrols in front of your heart’s door, keeping worry out. This peace does not mean the absence of trials in your life. But it does mean experiencing a quiet confidence in your spirit regardless of whatever difficult circumstances, people, or events you are facing.

Question: What other sources do you sometimes look to for peace rather than to God? Why is God a better recipient of our requests for peace than anyone or anything else?

Read An Absence of Peace on Elizabeth & Jim George.

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