Illuminations (November 2023)

Nov 10, 2023 | Articles

Even in the most normal of times, the busyness of the holiday season causes stress. And these are not normal times. If you are experiencing more anxiety than usual, you are not alone. More and more, our world feels like it’s been turned upside down by confusion, uncertainty and dangerous situations pushing in from all fronts.

In such times, we need to remember that God is not a God of confusion, but of peace,” according to what the scriptures tell us in I Corinthians 14:33a (ESV), And in Isaiah 45:18 (NLT), we are told, For the LORD is God, and he created the heavens and earth and put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos. ‘I am the LORD,’ he says, ‘and there is no other.’”

What are we to take from verses like these? If we find ourselves in the midst of chaos and uncertainty, we remember that it is not of God,but of the world. As humans we are adept in messing up God’s peace; and so we realize that it is the acts of man that cause us to stress out.

What are we to do when chaos, stress and fear take over? As believers, we have the privilege of turning to God for relief. We take our concerns, our fears, our anxiety to Him in prayer; and we leave them there with Him. We deliberately choose not to take them back but to trust our heavenly Father knows best what to do.

So the first constructive step is to pray about our anxiety, asking God to give us His peace and enable us to keep our eyes on Him rather than the world.

A second step might be to give thanks. The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 that we are to be thankful in all things, because this is God’s will for us. We need to remember also Romans 8:28 that assures us that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” In every day language, this is telling us He is in control, and He will work it out. Our assignment is to trust.

Finally, we must feed our minds with healthy input, even when the world is falling apart around us. Cut back on how much time you spend on watching the news. Instead, take theapostlePaul’sadviceinPhilippians4:8. “Whateveris true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

If, and when, you feel the negative edging back in, make a deliberate effort to direct your mind to heavenly things. The Bible is full of them. Read it. Make lists. Post them all around the house. Memorize. Share with others.

And most of all, know that you are loved. God loved you so much that He gave up His own Son to death so that you might be reconciled to Him.

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