By Ryan Frank
We met to worship yesterday. We talked about our God who knows all, and is in complete control. We submitted our prayers, thanked Him, read scripture, and encouraged others who were there. I was happy to be there to worship.
Today, I find myself anxious. In fact, after a great day of worship, I didn’t sleep well. I’m watching events happen around me that I’ve never seen in my lifetime. People are worried. I’m worried. God tells us, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7, CSB). So simple, yet so hard to follow. So here are three things I’m worried about and my plan to follow God’s instruction in this passage to present my request, be thankful, and allow God’s peace to rule my heart. I hope it encourages you.
- I’m worried the concern over COVID-19 is just the tip of the iceberg and the global economic impact to follow will be great. Not only will we have a virus to contend with, but also a depressed economy.—Lord, please give our nation’s leaders great wisdom to guide us through this time of uncertainty. May they be calm, but decisive. Help them make decisions that slow down COVID-19 with minimal impact on the economy. Provide for those who may be out of work during this time. Thank you for the people who help us make these decisions. Thank you for the hours they spend looking over statistics and listening to the countless concerns. Give them peace and let us rest in peace knowing that you’re helping them navigate their way through uncharted waters.
- I’m worried that people are getting an emotional “buzz” over COVID-19 and it’s causing more problems than needed. I’ve found myself doing this. It’s kind of exciting. Not in a good way, but I feel interested, my thoughts are consumed, and I’m thinking of creative ways to limit our use of essentials for the next month, or more.—Lord, help me trust in your promises and remain calm. You say you love us more than the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. Since you take care of them, you take care of us. The future is uncertain in our eyes, but you know every minute of every day, and our lives are in your hands. Thank you for always hearing our prayers. Thank you for never leaving us. Thank you for giving us your Son that guarantees hope for the hopeless and life to all who call on His name. May the peace that comes from these promises rule our hearts. Remind us daily of the truths you have given and the love you have shown us through your Son, Jesus.
- I’m worried the church is going to miss an opportunity to shine hope and truth to so many that are worried and concerned. In times like this, the church should be the example of how to stay calm, rest in the certainty of the creator, and care for the hurting. We must not let the worries consume us as well.—Lord, please help the church be the example you called us to be. People will know we are your disciples by how we treat each other. We are not here to hoard items, but give items. We are not here to criticize leaders, but submit to and pray for them since they are placed in leadership by God. We are not here to complain, but lead with respect and understanding. Thank you for the church. They are the people I need to keep me focused on the important things. Thank you for their prayers, encouragement, and listening ears. Thank you for the hope we have in Jesus and for the confidence that no matter what happens, the church will survive until God’s appointed time. Let your peace rule in our hearts. The confidence we have is in your unshakable character. You’re not surprised. You’ve got this. As we rest in you, may the world see our hope and be more attracted to the peace we have in you than they are to the chaos and fear caused by uncertainty.
So what are you worried about? Try this three-step approach from Philippians 4:6–7: (1) Present your request, (2) give thanks—there’s always something to be thankful for, and (3) let God’s peace rule your hearts. It’s a great way to grow.
Ryan Frank is lead pastor of Involve Church, Nampa, Idaho. This article was first posted to the church’s blog and is reposted here by permission.