When I began my morning praying God’s Word, I didn’t foresee the news that would come later. I didn’t realize how much I would need to hold on to the promise woven into Philippians 4:6-7. But God knew.
As the verse came to me, the words didn’t seem to resonate within my peace-filled heart. I knew the words were true, but I wasn’t worried or anxious about anything. But I prayed the words anyway and went on with my normal routine.
Later that afternoon, my dad called. His usual pleasantries and questions about the grandkids were short this time. My mom was in the hospital. The symptoms pointed to a stroke, but the doctors were still unsure.
Hours of waiting and tests would ensue before we’d know anything. But here’s the thing- I’m not a waiter. I am a doer. When life unravels and reels out of control, I do anything within my power to fix the situation. And when the situation can’t be fixed, I worry. In my mind, I believe I’m exercising some sort of direction over circumstances I can’t possibly change.
My parents lived over 500 miles away. Even the desire to simply jump in my car and be present was not feasible at the time.
In the midst of my search for sense in the senseless, the words I prayed that morning came to me.
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 minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
I realized with stark clarity how God was preparing me for what was to come.
These verses gave clear instruction for what I was to do with my worry. I was to give it to God.
With a new sense of direction, I prayed for my mom and my family. I prayed for the doctors who were working to find a diagnosis and the staff caring for her. I thanked God for getting my mom to the hospital safely and for the availability of the care she needed. I thanked Him for giving me the living Word I needed.
As I prayed, my doer nature realized I was doing something. Although I still had no control over the situation, I was bringing it before the One who did.
And that was the very best “doing.”
An unspeakable peace came over me and just as the Scripture states, I didn’t understand it. But I was so grateful for it. His instruction and promise carried me until we were able to get some answers.
Hours later, my dad called saying my mom was going to be okay. As suspected, she had experienced a stroke, but with physical and occupational therapy the doctors expected her to regain much of her previous functionality. Weeks later, I came home for Christmas and listened as she played Christmas hymns on the piano. I was amazed. Not only had God given me peace when I needed it, but He had answered our prayers in a way I didn’t anticipate.
When we carry the Word of God in our hearts, it becomes a weapon against worry and anxiousness.
Things beyond our control will happen in our day-to-day lives, but we can equip ourselves with the Truth that protects our hearts and minds. When we do this, the words become like a soothing balm for our anxious souls.
Confidence replaces doubt and peace replaces worry. We find sweet rest because instead of relying on our own strength to carry us, we rely on the promises found in Christ Jesus.
While I know the temptation to worry will come again and again each day, I thank God for the moment He showed me his best prescription for it. Because no matter what the day holds, his promise remains.
Dear God, thank You for the power that is found in Your Word and the gift of prayer. When life is overwhelming, help me to remember the promises found in Scripture. Help me to realize that when I pray, I am bringing my cares before the One who cares perfectly. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Abby McDonald.