Something came out of the blue this week-end which left me feeling anxious in a way I hadn't felt in a long time. I knew I shouldn't worry, but my stomach twisted itself into a big knot. I had taken all the necessary steps I could at the moment. I knew I should trust God, but it was so hard to overcome that sinking feeling. In the past, I tried to get relief by listening to sentimental Christian-ish songs to drum up a different set of emotions, but it never lasted. Dealing on an emotional plane only addressed the surface problem, not the root.
I tried to fight the internal churning but didn't hide it very well. My daughter gave me that look which said, "I know you're worrying. It's not good. Do you need to talk about it?" So I confessed my worries and fears to her. In turn, she reminded me of the gospel and paraphrased Romans 8:32. If God chose to save me, if Jesus died to make that happen, did I really think He didn't care or wasn't big enough to handle this current situation? Obviously not, but how quickly I forgot.
To take my mind off the situation, I vacuumed. As I vacuumed, I prayed and began to rehearse the gospel which led me to 1 John 2:1 and back to Romans 8. Jesus Christ was my advocate before God the Father. God in his holy and righteous wrath without any intermediary is the worst thing any human being could face, but the wrath that I deserved was placed on Christ. I receive mercy and forgiveness. Instead of being outcast now and forever, I am His child and part of the bride of Christ. God is for me. Who can be against me? God loves me. What can separate me from that? The more I dwelt on the truth, the knot began to untie in my stomach. The more I focused on the facts of Christ's work and its ongoing and far-reaching effects on my behalf, the worry began to lift.
To cap it off, during my pastor's sermon on Genesis 22, the significance of God's promises clicked perhaps for the first time in my 40+ years as a Christian. They aren't just inspirational snippets from the Bible, a heavenly Hallmark greeting to make me feel better about myself and my situation. God's promises are declarations of His commitment to His purpose and to His people based upon His character. His promises are sure because He is sure. His faithfulness to keep those promises can be traced through history from creation, to the Cross, and up to today, which includes me. I am one of those grains of sands promised to Abraham in Genesis 22:17 and confirmed by Paul in Galatians 3:7-9. So I don't have to wonder whether I am outside of God's care. My salvation is proof that He keeps His promise from Genesis to the present and until time gives way to eternity.
So when in fear, skip the sentimental songs and the pithy platitudes. Their flimsy emotionalism will not support me. I can cast myself, burdens, doubts, and all, on the sure foundation of God's promises.
For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. Hebrews 6:13-18.