Anxious for Nothing, Day 2 by Max Lucado
Unchecked anxiety can unleash an Enola Gay of angry outbursts, rash accusations, and fiery retaliations against those in your path who are unfortunate to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. How many people have been wounded as a result of such unbridled stress? On the other hand, how many disasters have been averted because one person decided to be calm?
It is this composure Paul is referring to when he states, “Let your gentleness be evident to all” (Philippians 4:5 NIV). The Greek word translated as gentleness describes a temperament that is seasoned and mature. It envisions an attitude that is fitting to the occasion, levelheaded and tempered. The gentle reaction is one of steadiness, evenhandedness, and fairness.
Jesus promised that “in this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33 NIV). It is as inevitable as the sun rising on a new day—as waves crashing on the shores of a beach. But what you also need to remember is that Jesus has promised to be with you in the midst of those troubles. Before Jesus departed this earth, he said to his disciples, “Go and make disciples of all nations . . . teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19–20 NIV).
In fact, throughout the Bible, God repeatedly pledged to be present with his people. He was with Abram as he traveled to a new land. He was with Hagar when she fled into the wilderness, and with Isaac when he was forced to move from place to place. He was with Joshua when he faced the Canaanites, and with David when he faced the Philistines. He was with Peter in prison, and with Paul whenever and wherever he found himself in dire circumstances.
God was never watching from a distance. In fact, his very name is Immanuel, which means “God with us.” He became flesh. He became sin. He defeated the grave. And he is still with you.
Maybe you’re fighting today to keep a family together, a business afloat, or a school from going under. How you handle that fight will reveal where your trust ultimately lies. If you trust in Jesus and believe he is always with you, the byproduct of releasing the control to him will be a contagious calm that surrounds your life. This calm will allow you to see how God is working in your situation—and others will notice there is something different about you. It will bring healing to your anxiety, mature your faith, and show others that God is always faithful.
Anxiety management is like pulling stumps out of the ground. Some of your worries have deep root systems, and extracting them is hard work. But you don’t have to do it alone. Present the challenge to your Father and ask for help.
Will he solve the issue? Yes, he will. Will he solve it immediately? Maybe. Or maybe part of the test is an advanced course in patience. This much is sure: contagious calm will happen to the degree that you turn to him.
Who in your life is most impacted by the way you respond to stressful situations?
How would you define the word gentleness? Would you say your responses to others in stressful situations tend to be gentle? Why or why not?
How can knowing that God is always present in your circumstances help you to maintain a sense of contagious calm?
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.Philippians 4:5
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”John 16:33