Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NASB)
I’ve been waiting for Mother’s Day so that I could put this post together. My mom set a fantastic example of faith, prayer and study for me. When I started my senior year of high school, she began giving me scriptures in the mornings. Not everyday, but often. She wrote them on small white index cards and handed them to me when I walked out the door.
For a long time growing up, I knew that my mom was different. My brother and I might walk through the game room with friends in the middle of the day and interrupt my mom’s prayers. She would kneel at the couch, using the cushions to prop up her bible. I didn’t bother explaining to my friends what she was doing. But one time, as they passed into the next room, I overheard my brother’s friend ask, “What was your mom doing in there?” They had come in the back door from the driveway. She stopped, still on her knees, and greeted them, asked them about their day, then bowed her head as they walked out.
To my brother and me, this was par for the course. “Praying,” he said casually in response to the bewildered question. But it impressed me that kneeling, bowing, and praying needed explaining to most of our friends. It didn’t happen in every home. It also impressed me that this was her routine, a daily habit, and because I knew how much of that devoted time she spent praying for us–my dad, my brother and me. What a great mom.
Walking in on an afternoon prayer time happened pretty infrequently. Most days she prayed like this first thing in the morning, and her morning always started very early. I would pass her hurrying to the laundry room to retrieve clothes from the dryer, or as I grabbed my books and bolted out the door.
It was on one of these mornings–though I was still making my way through the house, my mind was already in the car speeding off to school–when she rose from her knees to her feet and handed me Philippians 4:6-7. I’m sure she meant to address some concern I had, something senior-ish, which I’ve long forgotten. I read it in the driver’s seat of my car, then stared at it, and then treasured it. Be anxious for nothing.
I keep it in a memory book of my senior year. It was the first verse I memorized when I became a serious student of the bible. It was the first verse I sent to my daughter when we began a journey of tackling anxiety together. A few years ago, I recognized perfectionism and anxiety as my nemesis. It crippled me until I confronted it with the truth of God’s word. This past winter, it came for my daughter, so I began writing a devotional thought for her everyday and texting it to her.
Today, the inspiration for her devotional came from this tweet:
So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6 (ESV)
You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. James 2:19 (NLT)
I’m so glad I ran across the tweet of that giant dog unable to move because he’s afraid of the cat. It got me to thinking about how silly it is for us to be afraid. We’ve been given so many scriptures that address fear. It’s not because there’s nothing to be afraid of. None of the scriptures that come to mind say that there’s no enemy, no conflict, no storm that threatens us. They are, however, teeming with the promises that the Creator of the universe holds us in His right hand, provides for us, acts as our shield, empowers us with His Spirit, stands down evil on our behalf. To be so equipped and then shrink in fear is as absurd as that 150 pound dog submitting to a little kitty cat.
Or we can flip that metaphor around. We’re the cat. We’ve got claws and we can hiss, but so what? The enemy is a mastiff. He’s so much more powerful. Our defenses are no match for him. Shouldn’t we be paralyzed in terror?
No. A Christ follower can rest confidently in the power of the One who created us. Nothing can defeat Him. We can know for certain, “The LORD is my helper. What can anyone do to me? God is for me. Who can possibly come against me?”
And like that giant dog, the demons, knowing that they are no match for the Living God, tremble in terror.
You can confidently say, I have nothing to fear.
Be anxious for nothing. Pray about everything. Give thanks in all things. His peace will guard your heart and mind.
Mom, thank you for kneeling and praying for me. Thank you for the verses and teaching me to study His Word. I’m so grateful for you. Happy Mother’s Day.