“The Lord is near. 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. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right – think about such things. And the God of peace will be with you.” The Bible
We are living in worrying times. We are deeply concerned about peoples’ lives and livelihoods, ourselves and our loved ones.
And yet in the Bible, St Paul exhorts us not to be anxious. Jesus himself famously said ‘Do not worry about tomorrow’. How is that possible? I think both Jesus and Paul recognise that we do and will worry, but they are helping us to manage our worries. They want us to have peace of heart and mind. How can we do that?
- Remember ‘The Lord is near’. God is right here with us in this. As we lean on Him in these days, we will find help and strength from beyond ourselves.
- Don’t focus on your fears: Let’s get well informed by a reliable news source…and then switch it off. The bombardment of information only raises anxiety levels. But instead of focusing on fears, we are encouraged to…
- Pray: We’re encouraged to tell God about the things we’re worried about. If we can regularly pause from our activity, reconnect with God, reflect on what we’re thankful for, and lift our requests to Him, it will do us a world of good.
- Pursue good things: let’s focus instead on things that are good and constructive. How can I use this time of enforced confinement positively? Can I make something, do something that benefits me or others? And how can I help others in greater need than me?
As we focus regularly on these things, we will find a God-given peace of heart and mind that will see us through.
The Revd Nick Hudson, minister of Wokingham Baptist Church, writing on behalf of Churches Together in Wokingham