Thursday, February 20, 2014

Giving Our Anxieties to God

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken”
(Psalm 55:22).

Anxiety is a well-known word in our culture.   One source I read said that it is the most common mental illness in America - affecting at least 40 million adults - and I am one of them.

Some definitions of anxiety state that it is based on unreal or perceived problems or circumstances rather than on conditions that are legitimately threatening.  I understand that differentiation, but sometimes I feel my anxiety is based on very legitimate possibilities. 

Right now I’m anxious about the logistics of our upcoming retirement and move out of state.  I’m concerned about health problems of friends and family that seem to be unending.  I’m anxious about my continual headaches and eye problems.  These may seem to be legitimate concerns, but when I am anxious for any reason, I am not trusting God’s sovereignty in my life.

In her book, Calm My Anxious Heart, Linda Dillow described a great visual way of dealing with anxiety.  She found a decorative box and called it her anxiety box.  Whenever she was troubled by a situation, she wrote the problem down on a piece of paper and put it in this box.  She then prayed about it, committing it to God. 
Afterwards, whenever she found herself becoming anxious or worried about that problem, her box was a reminder that she had given that situation to the Lord and it was in His hands.  Periodically she would re-read the papers inside the box, praising and thanking God for the situations He had resolved and recommitting the worrisome ones to Him.  What a great visual reminder to cast our burdens on the Lord, knowing He will carry us through whatever comes.

There was a popular marching song during both world wars that said, “Pack up your worries in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile”.  I would say, give God your worries in your anxiety box and pray, pray, pray – and then smile and keep marching forward in faith!

Prayer:  Lord God, I confess that many times I become anxious over circumstances in my life rather than trusting You for the outcomes.  Thank you for the wonderful comfort and privilege of being able to give them to You, knowing that I do not need to be shaken because You will sustain me through them all.  Amen.



Friday, February 7, 2014

Our God Is the Healer and Mender of Broken Hearts

“I am the Lord, who heals you”
 (Exodus 15:26).

We are all familiar with the term “broken heart” in reference to romantic relationships.  But our hearts can break over much more than romantic love, and they need to be mended.

The Hebrew word for healer means not only to make whole but also to sew together, mend, or repair.  When our hearts break over lost abilities, dreams, and hopes, or the possibility that our health problems may not end in this life, we can go to God and know He will mend our brokenness. 
God’s healing may or may not include physical healing now, but it will always include mending and repairing the damage to our hearts over our suffering, if we allow Him to.  He abounds in love – a love that is not only based on His strong affection for us but also on the steadfastness, faithfulness, and constancy of His character (Exodus 34:6).

Recently I mourned the physical inability to share in my youngest daughter’s wedding and her move to a new home.  My heart is breaking over major problems that extended family members and friends are experiencing and the fact that I can’t be there to support them. But God comes and mends the tears.  He reminds me that I will have all of eternity to be with those I love and to share wonderful experiences with them. He reminds me that praying for others is just as significant as being there.  He brings fellow believers alongside me to lift me up.  He brings appropriate Scriptures to mind that revive my mind and soul.

We will grieve and mourn in this life.  But whether our hearts are in pieces or only have a few tears, God the Healer can and will repair them.  He is the God whose power is as boundless as His love.

Prayer:  Loving God, I know that there is no tear in my heart over hurt or loss or pain that is too deep for you to mend.  Help me to continually bring my brokenness to you, resting in your abounding love, compassion, mercy, faithfulness, and power to heal.  Amen.