Be anxious for nothing ...
"Excuse me, Lord, but I don't think that's possible. You see, I have Christmas breathing down my neck, I don't know how I will afford Santa this year and, on top of that, my in-laws are coming for two weeks over Christmas break. And Lord, besides that, they've asked me to volunteer for the church Christmas play. I'm supposed to wear my old bathrobe and be Joseph. They told me I don't have to say anything, just stand there and look holy."
"Lord, I wasn't quite finished with my prayer. My wife has been really moody the past couple of days. Jesus, I wish she would get off my back - Oops, sorry Lord. Plus, my boss is on me about closing that Palmer deal before the end of the year. He keeps telling me to push harder. I'm telling him if I push too hard, I'll lose the deal."
"Lord, you keep interrupting me. I've got this weird pain in my back. I went to the doctor, and he told me I need to cut down on the carbs and exercise. Right. How am I supposed to do that? Most of the time I only have time to go through the drive-through at Chick-fil-A. Who has time to go to the gym? Doc said if I would lose about 30 pounds, the pain in my back would go away. I try, but it's hard."
"Lord, are you a broken record today or what? I'm telling you all my troubles, and all you can say is 'Be anxious for nothing ...' Where does that even come from? Oh right, from the Bible. Yeah, I haven't been reading my Bible. I mean, I mean to. I tried to get up early one morning and fell back asleep. Then I tried to read it at night and fell asleep. Seems like all I do is fall asleep."
"Lord, I can't just turn it off. How can anyone stop being anxious? How do I stop letting my mind race around and around? Sure, I don't like being this way, but what do you expect me to do?"
"Okay, Lord, I get the message. You want me not to be anxious. I guess I better find what the rest of that verse says. Thank God - I mean - thank you for Google. Here it is. Philippians 4:6: 'Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, with prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God.' Hmm. So I'm supposed to pray my anxieties? Is that it? Wait. Verse 7 looks interesting: 'And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.' So if I pray, I will get peace? Is that what I'm supposed to do?"
"Okay, I'll try it. Father, let's start with the bills. Please let me win the lottery. No, that doesn't sound right. Lord, I'm struggling financially. Give me wisdom. Give us ideas for the kids that don't cost too much. Give me patience as I deal with my in-laws. And God, I'm just not comfortable on stage. Is it okay to turn down the church? I feel more peace not doing it than doing it. Give my wife some peace. Give us laughter. Help us count our blessings, not our stresses. I'll have to trust that Palmer deal to you, Lord. God, give me strength not to eat when I'm anxious. If you gave David power over Goliath, you can give me power over food. Heal my back pain. I know I need to spend more time with you - hey, Lord, it just dawned on me, I can read my Bible during my morning break at work. And Lord, give me peace. You know, Lord, I feel better. Thank you. Maybe you're teaching me something. Put stuff in your hands and stop pretending I am you. Wow. Thanks for being a God big enough to hold me. Okay. In Jesus' name, Amen."
"Be anxious for nothing ... I really need to remember that verse, Lord. Thanks."
The Rev. Dr. Clay Smith is the lead pastor of Alice Drive Baptist Church in Sumter.
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