The Shelter of His Wings, Devotional #7
by Jane Josephs
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:6-7
One of the ways my husband and I get news in our home is through a subscription to Time Magazine. Last week, two very different articles in the magazine caught my attention. The first warned, “A New Global Depression is Coming. Forget Rapid Recovery. COVID-19 Will Bring Prolonged Economic Pain.” Yikes! And then, this news was followed a few pages later with “How to Sleep Better,” and I thought to myself, doesn’t the concern about one cancel out the ability to do the other? And the words from the Apostle Paul to the Philippians whispered through my mind. “Do not be anxious about anything…”
Worry, fear, uncertainty, anxiety, and stress. We’re living with those feelings every day, aren’t we? Not being able to control so much of what is happening in our world has left us tossing and turning, unable to get a good night’s sleep. Hence the rise of over-the-counter sleep medication, soothing music, white noise, and “sleep retreats.” Yes, you read that right. You can now go on a retreat to learn what to do so you can have a better sleep experience. Because, as it turns out, sleep affects health.
But as I scanned through both articles, I had this thought: prayer can affect our health, too…and our circumstances. What if we—if I—determined to pray about the economic situation every time I couldn’t sleep. I mean, really pray. What if, instead of tossing and turning in bed, we stood up, paced the room, and tossed, turned, and cast all our anxiety on God, as the Apostle Peter advised? (1 Peter 5:7)
Prayer. Petition. Thanksgiving. These are the weapons of our warfare. And make no mistake, we are engaged in warfare today. I don’t really need Time Magazine to tell me how far we’ve slid down the slippery slope. But I also know there’s One who still has the whole world in His hands. And as the song “Way Maker” affirms, “Even when I don’t see it, You’re working.”
Though his circumstances were different, the Psalmist David knew well the same kind of anxiety we’re experiencing. In Psalm 4, he cries out, “Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.” It’s the lament of one who’s tossing and turning, just as we do sometimes. And yet, by the end of the psalm, he says, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Paul concludes his instructions to the Philippians with one of my favorite verses in all of scripture. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7) We have His promise, dear friends. We have His protection. Our Guardian is in place. No matter what may come, we win. May you rest in the strong, loving arms of Jesus, knowing you are safe and secure. Because you are!