I need a word from the Lord this morning. I need to hear from the God who watches over little girls who are not where they should be and comforts broken-hearted Nanas. I wanted something like: “Don’t you worry, I’ll fix this.” But that’s not the word I got. The Spirit led me to Philippians 4:4-7: “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 everything, 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 minds in Christ Jesus.”
Rejoice. You’re kidding, right? No, He’s not. Rejoice. Not just when it’s all good and the sun is shining. Always. Now. When it hurts. When you don’t understand.
Be gentle. Actually, He’s not commanding an act on my part, He is reminding me to bear forth the fruit of His Spirit – gentleness – as I deal with the people and the situation. God knew when He gave me that word at the beginning of the year that I would need it right now.
Don’t be anxious. I need to tell that to my knotted-up stomach and my hammering heart. Literally.
Pray. I like the way The Message says it: “shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.” And petition Him. “Go boldly to the throne of grace” (Heb 4:16 emphasis added). ASK. “ASK and keep on asking, SEEK and keep on seeking, KNOCK and keep on knocking” (from Mat 7:7).
With thanksgiving. Yes, thanksgiving. Because God has been trustworthy in the past. Because He loves her more than I ever could. Because He can be where I cannot. Because He is still writing this story.
And because He plants four words in the middle of this passage that we often overlook but speak volumes: “The Lord is near.”
Rejoice–because the Lord is near. Be gentle—because the Lord is near. Don’t be anxious–because the Lord is near. Pray with thankfulness–because the Lord is near. I can have the peace of God that is unfathomable–because the Lord is near. My heart and my mind – and my stomach – need God’s peace.
I didn’t exactly write this one for you today, I wrote it for me. But I’ll share it with you because it’s His Word for us all. And because, Beloved, through it all—the Lord is near.