Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. 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.
- Philippians 4:4-7
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
- Matthew 6:27
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
- Philippians 1:21
“So even if that phone rings and the worst possible news is on the other end, what do you have to be anxious about? I understand fear. I understand pain. But that’s not the same as worry. Fear is legitimate for the vulnerable, and pain is a natural consequence of being mortal. But worry is a choice made in distrust. And it never helps. Worry contributes nothing to the problems we’re facing. ‘Do not be anxious about anything.’ Here is the logic of Jesus on the subject: ‘Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?’ (Matt. 6:27).
“But it’s so hard not to be anxious. I know I shouldn’t be anxious, but I feel anxious plenty of times. Like those moments when I’m traveling by plane and I suddenly realize that there’s nothing underneath me. Sometimes right in the middle of the ﬂight, I’m thinking, Wow, we’re in the sky. It’s hard not to be anxious. I have daughters, okay? I hate all the boys now. I see them as punks—-little shady punks. Can we just be honest that it’s hard not to be anxious about certain things? It’s hard not to have legitimate anxieties in your heart.”
- Matt Chandler, To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain
Rev. Chandler talks about being anxious when he is flying somewhere. A news report came to the crew I was on in Thailand. I was not the “boss” but all communications went through me to and from our boss. The news report was that a 747 had crashed in Hong Kong, killing many. The next day, my boss realized that our customer in Thailand had run out of money, bankrupt, so he ordered us to leave the hotel and go to the airport that night. I talked to the other guys during our evening meal. We agreed on a time to meet and the driver was informed. On the way to the airport, one of the younger guys asked, “Do you not fear getting in a plane, probably a 747, and flying anywhere? They have yet to announce why that plane in Hong Kong came down.”
I replied, “After an accident of that nature, they double and triple check everything before they let a flight into the air. Flying immediately after an accident of that nature is the best time to fly. The ground crews and pilots are on top of everything.”
It sounded good. I sounded confident as I said it. No one said anything else about the Hong Kong crash. I sat there with a straight face, like I had no cares at all, but my underwear was twisted so tightly, I was surprised that when I gave the guy the reply to his question that I did not sound like a soprano.
The guys know what that means.
Besides, we made our fueling stop on the way home in Tokyo instead of Hong Kong.
Rev. Chandler makes it sound like not being anxious is an impossible thing. At times, until we sort through our priorities, we might get anxious. I have been in pressure cooker situations many times in my life. When you are planning and awaiting the commencement of that plan, you might have difficulty controlling your emotions, or even your bowel and bladder movements, but once you take the first step, you are in reaction mode and never think of the anxiety. Maybe like Matt Chandler states, you are in full on FEAR, but the thing is that you trust God and you trust your plan and with careful prayer and listening for God’s answer, you trust that God trusts your plan. Maybe that last part is the most important.
You make a plan praying the entire time. You pray until you run out of things to say. Then, while your mind is empty of any request, you hear God’s voice. Maybe the voice says to look up certain Scriptures, but you hear your answer. Do you proceed? Do you back away from the plan entirely? Or do you modify the plan? Then you pray again, until you run out of things to say…
Then, when you step into the great unknown, you know a few things. God will never leave you even if the plan fails. But you know that you have a good plan. You know God knows that the plan is good. And you know that you know that God knows…
FEAR? Yes. That is a natural response, but you proceed in faith.
Lord, guide me. Help me to stop long enough to know that you know the plan is a good one. And help me to be asking you that as I plan each step of the way. In Thy Name I pray. Amen
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.