“DO NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT ANYTHING,BUT IN EVERY SITUATION,
BY PRAYER AND PETITION, WITH THANKSGIVING, PRESENT YOUR REQUESTS TO GOD”
“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear;
what a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer.”
– John M. Scriven
In the last post, I gave my personal experience with anxiety and depression and how Christ has set me free from the bondage that anxiety can easily bring to the Christian woman. Unfortunately, we measure how we can get through our trials by comparing them with those who are less fortunate than we are. Those who have gone through “more” than we have in our lives are seen as saints, or stronger than us because they have had to endure more. Everyone of us has our share of trials that God has ordained which shape us into the women He wants us to be. As I don’t believe the mindset of comparing trials is beneficial normally, I do believe that we can learn from the strength and mistakes of others. Sometimes we can approach our lives with sensitivity when we keep the purpose of the trial in context. There is so much weight and truth in this one verse of Philippians for us to glean from.
Guarding your heart from your personal motives that may not glorify God and from the lies of the world is essential to keeping your peace. A worldly mindset that stems from lusting after what you see, feel, desire, and pride of the heart could be that of entitlement(1 John 2:16). We think we are entitled to a “good man” because of how much we have done for others. We tell ourselves we “deserve” the American dream; well-behaved children, a loving, sexy husband who loves Jesus and serves, maybe a cute pet, a clean, well-decorated home in the suburbs, and a welcoming church home. We are not entitled to any of this friends. We are sinners, saved by grace, making us saints (Eph. 2:8). It is by grace that your messed up self, husband, and children have been or have the opportunity to be saved. You and I were not born with a “perfect life” coupon; a golden ticket, EZ Pass for living above trials.
John M. Scriven wrote the beautiful hymn “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” as a poem to his dying mother, who lived across the world. He had his share of heartache in this life and from it wrote the most beautiful words to comfort someone he loved dearly. Scriven’s tale starts with being a very privileged man who was born into a wealthy family. He was to marry the love of his life, but tragically, she fell from a horse into water, while riding to meet him, and drowned the night before their wedding. Later, Scriven moved to Canada and married another woman, a relative of the woman he worked for. She was baptized in an icy river before their wedding, developed pneumonia, and died four months into their marriage. I’m convinced that this man knew pain. He knew the friend Jesus could be, in loneliness, anxiety, and grief.
Marriage is SO very temporary.
We place much anxiety and worry over the person whom we will marry and invest so much care into the daily living after marriage, that we often forget that we are eternal beings.
“Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there”
This is why Jesus continues to prompt us to not worry for anything, and to give our cares to Him (Matt.6:25-34). He encourages us to make Him the primary focus because this earth is not our home(1Peter 2:10). Scriven was able to write the beautiful words to this poem, now international church hymn, because he was able to understand that it is an honor and privilege to take things to the One who is there for us. Jesus is here for us. He knows the plan He has for our lives and is a good God who will give to us all that we need to please Him (2 Peter 1:3).
Guard your heart from the lies that Satan will tell you through media, people, and even your own thoughts. You can do this by re-ordering these thoughts in your mind, casting down any high thing or thought that tries to exalt itself against the knowledge of God and His word (2Cor. 10:4-6). God’s word is the final authority in your life. It must be the only thing that we believe to be the truth or we will constantly fall victim to dissatisfaction, discontentment, anxiety, and worry. This is why the verse states to bring everything to God, making what you lack or desire known to Him, with thanksgiving. Why with thanksgiving?
When we are thankful for what God provides, we will realize that He has given us everything we need in Him. You are not alone. You are given daily bread. You have peace. You are loved.
Philippians 4:6 says with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God. God knows that you have a need in your life, relational, emotional, physical. He knows before you ask. However, keeping the peace that will guard you heart, as we will see, will be ever present as you take everything to God in prayer. Scriven’s words weren’t written out of the life he started with- privilege. It has to be assumed that knowing that God bears all our griefs, and being “heavy-laden” are words from experience.
“Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!”
Sister, your experiences will allow you to speak life and hope into another sister’s pain. The glory of your greatest victories in your life will be given to the Lord because you know that He bears your burdens and the peace you experienced in a time of such turmoil only came from Him. He is there.
It’s the peace that surpasses understanding.