“Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:7
Recently someone said to me that the only time that he could really relax is when he and his wife are on a cruise, far away from shore and well past the range of cell towers. That’s because his business expects 24x7 availability, with a nearly-instantaneous response to any calls, texts, or emails – even afterhours, and on weekends.
Many people report that the pace of life has definitely increased, and with this increased pressure there has been a corresponding rise in our levels of anxiety and stress. This can leave us searching for ways in which we can find relief, without having to travel far from home, just to “get away from it all.”
Nearly two thousand years ago, toward the end of his life, the Apostle Peter wrote “cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.” Peter knew – up close and personally – what it was like to bear up under pressure. When Jesus was arrested and facing execution, Peter was so terrified of suffering a similar fate that he disowned Jesus; three times he claimed that he never knew Jesus. And after the crucifixion, Peter and the other disciples hid themselves behind locked doors, in fear that they would be hunted down, and killed.
But three days later everything changed. Peter and the others had an encounter with the Resurrected Christ, and as a result they were all transformed into a group of bold believers who faithfully proclaimed the message of eternal life.
As they continued to follow the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit, they learned that they could trust God to see them through any and all situations in life, no matter how difficult things might appear.
Today, we follow and serve the same Risen Lord as those first followers of Jesus. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever more. He knows exactly what it is like to be one of us, to feel the emotions that we feel, and the pressures that we experience. And He loves us – far more than we know.
Whenever anxiety comes our way, with its images and thoughts of what the future may hold, we can stop and take a few moments to remember that God is closer to us than our breath, and that God always has our very best interests at heart. Focusing on the breath – being aware of the simple act of our breathing, in and out, making no effort to control it – is an age-old technique for bringing the mind into the present moment, and for beginning to quiet the images and thoughts that we’ve been experiencing.
As the Psalmist wrote, “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Taking a few moments each day, away from the business of life, can help us to learn to enter into this stillness – this place of quiet, and tranquility. With practice, it becomes easier -- much easier -- to do. And the rewards encompass far more than anyone is able to put into words.
In His peace,
Pastor John Frank ><>