'What is the world coming to?” Meg shook her head at the newspaper in her hands and frowned.
'I know. There's war breaking out in so many places!” Tina gazed out the sliding glass door of her kitchen at the dreary winter landscape of her backyard. 'With political scandal, a populace in chaos and a failing economy what will happen next?” She swiped at the mess on the baby's highchair tray. 'Frankly, I'm scared, Meg. What will happen to our children if things keep going the way they are?”
'I'm scared, too, Tina.” Meg forced a more cheerful face. 'Let's have another cup of coffee and a sweet roll.”
Tina gave a little smile. 'Drown our worries in calories? I suppose that will help for the moment, but what about the long run, Meg? Even John is concerned, and he's not a worrying man.”
Many of us feel the same way that Meg and Tina do. The political scene is disturbing. We see horrors on every nightly news broadcast. Politicians whom we trusted enough to give our vote prove to be shysters. Paychecks don't buy as much and the value of our house is decreasing. How can we calm the anxieties that we feel?
The Apostle Paul knew what it was to face anxious times. He lived on the cutting edge of life, facing shipwreck, stoning and beatings. Still he kept a positive outlook. He gives us good advice for our troubled times in Philippians, chapter four (NIV).
Rejoice! (Verse 4) 'What?” we might ask. 'How can I rejoice in a situation like this?” We don't rejoice in a situation; we rejoice in the Lord. He is the One who will never leave us nor allow us to go begging (Ps. 37:25). Our source of financial security is neither an employer nor a stable economy. It is the Lord who provides for us now and for our children's future. We can rejoice in our faithful Lord.
Refuse to be anxious! (Verse 6) We take our needs and desires to the Lord in prayer believing that He will provide for us what He knows we need. We thank Him for His faithful provision in the past, knowing that His faithfulness will extend into our future. As He has been faithful to us, He will be faithful to our children.
Anxiety comes from within us. When we develop a joyful, thankful and full-of-faith-in-the-Lord outlook we lessen the power of a calamity to overwhelm us. Terrorists cannot paralyze a faith-filled populace. Greedy financiers cannot intimidate those who trust the Lord to supply their needs. Where is our faith placed?
Rule our thinking! (Verse 8) Let's take control of what infiltrates our minds. We don't have to bury our heads in the sand, but we do need to monitor our thoughts. Someone said, 'What we read, we are.” A more modern version would be, 'What we watch on T.V., we are,” or 'What we allow to control our minds, we are.” Jesus Himself said, 'For out of the overflow of his heart (a man) speaks,” (Luke 6:45). The concepts with which we fill our hearts and minds through reading, conversing, watching movies and T.V. or obsessive thinking will eventually control our emotions.
Paul goes on, in verse nine, to encourage his followers to emulate what they saw in him. Although he had seen much trouble, still Paul was one a very joyful man. We have not only his buoyant, positive outlook as an example for us, but we also have present-day examples of joy in others of our acquaintances. An unstable society should not be cause for a believer to be downhearted and gloomy. Our anxieties are quieted when we look to our Savior. He will faithfully meet our needs.
By Sylvia Stewart