I once heard someone say, "Tonight when you go to bed give God all your cares and concerns because he will be up all night anyway." Not only is this a good motto to live by but it's actually Biblical. Life is difficult. Pain hurts. Worry is real. The anxieties of life cripple us and hold us back from experiencing the joy that God has in store for us. But in the midst of it all God deeply cares!
In the book of Philippians Paul is writing from a very hopeless situation. He is in prison simply because he is a follower of Jesus. Yet, he writes what is often known as the most joyful letter in the New Testament. How can join come from such deep places of pain?
In Philippians 4:6-7 Paul states "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." For Paul the answer was found in turning his worries into prayers. He could do this because in verses 4-5 he reminds the Philippian believers that rejoicing is possible because the return of Jesus is approaching. The fact that Jesus conquered death and is returning from His own changes everything about the reality of day to day life for the believer.
This passage has long been one of my favorite and most comforting reminders from God's Word. Basically, God is telling us to pray instead of worry. Worrying has only been proven to bring negative side effects on your life. All of the sleepless nights that worrying brings can not change your situation by one ounce. BUT when you turn to God and honestly pour your heart to Him - His peace begins to reign in your life. He may choose to take the situation completely away but even if he doesn't He has already promised that He will give his peace in every situation. Even the biggest mountains of your life! This peace is not known to the unbelieving world. In fact, Paul says the peace of God surpasses all human understanding. We can't explain it but we know when we have it.
In no way am I, nor is the Bible, downplaying the hurts of life. These hurts are so real that they can often overshadow our view of God. In these moments we are reminded more than ever just how human we are. It is no easy thing to turn our worries into prayers and actually leave them at the feet of Jesus. We must also realize, however, that prayer is the most valuable resource we have that often goes un-used.
If we are to be strong on our feet we must first be strong on our knees.
God's will is that you walk in his peace. He has not promised to exempt you from life's difficult moments but he has promised to walk with you every step of the way. We must trust Him to take our cares and give us abiding peace as we turn our worries into prayers.
Next time worry begins to take over your life - stop and voice those worries to God and let the sweet exchange of His peace replace the anxiousness of the human heart.
"Tonight when you go to bed, give God all of your cares and concerns because He will be up all night anyway."