The Lord is Near
Challenging times are opportunities to trust God.
Crises stop us in our tracks and force us to really reconsider our ways.
Instability brings confusion for most people, but for those who believe, such times can also bring clarity. When we’re reminded of how little control we have over our circumstances (be it our health, standard of living or financial stability), we realise that our most significant decision is choosing between anxiety and dependence.
To say we trust is one thing. To really trust is something else, especially when it comes to money. One important test for all of us is how we relate to money during these uncertain times. I can’t help but think of these questions:
How will we deal with this? Will our priorities change? Will we trust God by being generous and compassionate, caring for other people, when we ourselves might be threatened by losing our own income? Does the thought of having to rely on other people’s help scare us? How can we say we trust if we never allow ourselves to be dependent?
The natural reaction to uncertainty is anxiety, and a very common symptom of anxiety is greed. The desire to keep, accumulate, and control money turns against us: instead of controlling it, we end up being controlled by it. Times of financial instability and material insecurity can make us even more vulnerable to this. Love of money stands on the false promise that as long as we have it we can do anything with it. We think money represents freedom, potential, security, but to be captured by the love of money is to lose the very power money could give us to do something worth doing with it. Honouring and trusting God implies managing money and possessions differently.
When the future looks unsure, when the health and safety of our dear ones are endangered, when our jobs become insecure and we face the imminent threat of losing our income, it’s very difficult not to be anxious. When hardship strikes, “do not be anxious!” may look like cheap advice. It’s definitely easier said than done. One can’t simply cease to be anxious by simply exerting the power of one’s own will. Anxiety can only be conquered by hope. To hope is to trust in future provision, not in present resources. Moreover, to hope is to trust against all present circumstances. Hope speaks of a future more certain than death.
Hope waits in the shadows and shines brightest in dark and broken places.
Here’s the Apostle Paul writing from prison:
”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.”
Do not be anxious about anything.
The Lord is near.