There is a lovely little addition behind our house so covered in Virginia woods I didn’t even know it existed until the leaves dropped. The first autumn we lived here, I saw a light from a kitchen window barely distinguishable through the balding trees. As more leaves fell, more house and lights showed. In full winter, I can even see people moving about across the way.
Almost daily now I risk life and limb on our road with its fast flying cars and trucks, to walk to the turn in the road that leads into the back woods settlement. I find quiet there in the hidden roads where almost no one drives except for the people who live there.
I walk and talk to God in a whisper cause it is so quiet and beautiful I don’t want to shatter it.
“I wish we had just a little more money so we didn’t have to worry about it,” I whispered to God the other day.
“Well, that was all wrong,” I answered my own offhanded remark to the One-Who-Owns the cattle on a thousand hills.
A response inside said, “You never HAVE TO worry Sylvia, no matter how much money you have or don’t have.”
In these pinched days where only chickens seem to be making a killing, and retirement funds turn to vapor, God looks down from heaven and desires my worries to be His own.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 ESV
This verse pops up a lot in my life. It has confounded me and bothered me. Where is this peace in my life I wonder at times?
Merimnao, translated in our English Bibles as worry, anxious, concern or care, means, “To be drawn in different directions,” like someone pulled two ways. It corresponds to our word “distraction.”
It reminds me of the story in Matthew 14 when Jesus walked on the water toward a wet bedraggled and frightened group of disciples sailing across the Sea of Galilee. Tossed by wind and waves in the dark night, caught up in the miracle of this astounding, supernatural act of God, Peter responded to His Master’s invitation. He climbed down from the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.
But, Peter took His eyes off of Jesus and in so doing saw the wind and the waves. The reality of his situation, walking on water, (are you kidding me?) came into focus. The tempest drew His attention away from His Lord. Fear consumed him and he began to sink.
No one, no thing is greater than God. Worry fragments our focus on Him. Diverted by little niggles of life or big tempests, our eyes shift to them, rather than staying fixed on a Sovereign God Who is the Blessed Controller of All Things.
It’s a bit like the hidden house behind ours. When the pathway cleared, the light, once obscured but always present became visible. Worry blocks our sight from looking to Jesus alone for all our needs.
“You don’t have to worry, Sylvia,” He reminds me from His Word.
“…in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God…”
The Apostle Paul, from a dank prison wrote the church in Philippi, don’t “be drawn in different directions.” It robs your peace.
The disciple Peter walked on the water until he took his eyes off Jesus. He felt the winds and saw the waves. He cried, “Lord, save me.” And Jesus heard him call in the tempest.
I am so like Peter. How about you?
Jesus immediately reached out His hand and caught Peter from drowning.
“O you of little faith,” Jesus said to Peter, “why did you doubt?”