"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Most of us have hectic lives, things that go on in our lives beyond our own control that can cause us stress. If our hope is in Christ, we don't need to worry. Most people have heard the verses in Matthew 6 that tell us not to worry. Why, then, is it so hard to stop worrying? Why is it so hard to trust God? Even when given ample evidence of his provision in our lives during our moving process, I still suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. I allow myself to be consumed by the here and now and the what ifs and forget to turn to God when I have fear.
I stopped watching the news a while back because I would rather have my reality be what is real (go figure) instead of what the media tells me is real. Ever heard of sensationalism? I love the definition - the use of exciting or shocking stories or language at the expense of accuracy in order to provoke public interest (as defined on Google.com). Before you comment and tell me I need to know what is going on and should be watching the news, know that I read enough headlines on Facebook and hear plenty of news through the Christian radio station that I listen to. If I listen to the news, even the supposedly conservative news, I get stressed out. If I read headlines, I can step back and think objectively before reading a biased article.
Worry isn't new to this 21st century. It is seen in the New Testament which was written 2000 years ago. I'm sure it was in Old Testament times as well. Can anyone doubt the Hebrew mothers worried and feared for the lives of their firstborn sons when Pharoah ordered they all be executed? We read in I Kings 19 about how the prophet Elijah, after watching God send fire to burn up an offering, the stones of the altar, the wood, the soil, and even lick up the water that Elijah had poured over it all to prove to the people that God existed, ran for his life because he feared Jezebel who threatened to kill him.
Time and time again we see God working. He is faithful. We, however, are sinful people. We are easily led astray. I thank God for his mercy. As a parent myself, I would grow weary if I watched my children making the same mistakes over and over again and forgetting that I am here to help them. However, God never forsakes his children. If you are his child, you are richly blessed.
I Corinthians 10:13 tells us "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." God loves us so much he doesn't leave us alone. He provides a way out of temptation. I would say the urge to worry is a temptation. It takes the focus off of God. In my own life, I know that when I worry it is because I am trying to figure out what I can do to fix the situation. I don't turn to God first. When you think about the fact that you can go to the One who created the universe and all that is in it, who made men and women and breathed HIS breath into them to give them life, who chose to give up his own life in the most horrible and painful way so that we are now able to "approach his throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:16), why in the world wouldn't I go to him first? How in the world could I, why do I, forget to go to him first?
I have noticed when I start to have a panic attack because I am thinking of things I can't control if I think about God, pray to him, sing praises to him, my anxiety goes away. When I focus on him, things are put into perspective. God will always be in control, and no one can ever change that. Even if people say God doesn't exist, the fact remains that God does exist. That fact is evident all around us. I experienced it today when he saved me from an accident that could have potentially ended my life. The way it ended I can only attribute to God's grace and mercy.
So, the more I turn to God, the greater my faith will become. The greater my faith becomes, the more hope I will have, the more joy I will have, and the more peace I will have!!
I will leave you with this verse spoken by Jesus. I encourage you to read it again and again, soak it in, put it on your fridge, remember it...
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27. (I added the bold and italics.)