Toiling or Trusting?
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. (Philippians 4:6-7)
If you are anything like me, you have those moments of worry or doubt that plague you from time to time. As much as you want to trust God for the outcome, you just find it hard to let go of the worry. You mull over the stuff until it is a constant nagging in your brain and your heart. A sense of God's wholeness is the furthest thing you are experiencing at that moment, but it is the one thing you long for more than anything. So, how do we go from being so overwhelmed by the circumstances of life to the place where we sense his wholeness in our lives? Maybe it comes when we are finally willing to let God know our concerns, not holding them so close to the breast, and really 'get real' with him about the things that give us so much anxious concern.
I looked at this passage in many different translations this morning, but one thing stood out to me from The Living Bible: "6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. 7 If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus." We are actually supposed to tell God our needs - not just stew in them. We are to follow our asking with our thanksgiving, because God has never once failed to be concerned about what concerns us. The thing I realized that this is a conditional passage - there is that "If you do this..." portion that makes it conditional. If we bring our concerns to him with an attitude of thanksgiving for the answers, we experience his peace. It isn't thanksgiving for what he has done, but what he will do. In other words, we thank him in advance of the answer.
Is that kind of foreign to some of us? We were likely raised to thank someone when they did something for us, but to thank them in advance of the answer...do we do this that often? If we bring God our concerns, believing he will answer, we find thanksgiving in ADVANCE of the fulfillment of the need comes naturally. Why? We have learned to trust that God is as concerned about what concerns us as we are! He wants to deal with those concerns and we can know his peace, as a result. What this does for us is keep our hearts and minds at rest - we no longer 'toil over' those plaguing thoughts any longer. We allow God to do the 'toiling' while we stand 'trusting' him to do so. Just sayin!