Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 your minds in Christ. Philippians 4:6-7
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not let them be afraid. John 14:27
Of late many troublesome things have been happening in the world. Already in 2021, “significant” earthquakes have occurred in California (several), Argentina, Indonesia, Mongolia, New Zealand. In Russia, Putin’s opponent, Navalny, has been arrested. COVID-19 deaths continue to rise both here (10,000 new cases in the last two days in North Carolina) and around the world in spite of the new vaccines. Violence continues to rise in our cities, and in homes where the stress of the pandemic has put terrible stress on families trying to stay afloat. As I write this, we await the inauguration of a new president. I am anxious, hoping that all will be peaceful. As you read these words, we will know how it turns out.
In these days, the words of Paul in Philippians, and the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John, about not being anxious and not letting our hearts be troubled, are pleasant to read, but harder to put into action. And so as I read them, I cry out to God, “But how, Lord? In such times as these, how can we keep our hearts from being troubled?”
And I can hear God whispering in my ear, “My child, put down your cup of caffeine, turn off the television, lay down your phone, and look outside.” And as I do, I see a tiny little squirrel at the bird (squirrel) feeder. He is not worried about anything. He trusts that when he arrives outside our sunroom window there will be plenty of food for him to eat. He knows that he may have to share with a bird or two, and some fellow squirrels, but there will be enough. Sometimes his friends come and they eat and play together. His needs are simple and all that is needed will be there. He’s a happy little guy. His heart does not appear to be troubled or afraid.
I consider my forebears, farmers on both sides. They did not have the weather report at their fingertips, but weather was vitally important to their livelihoods. So they watched the skies. They felt the wind. They sniffed the air. they noted what the birds and other animals were doing. They read the signs of nature. And they didn’t worry all that much. They trusted that the One who created the earth would take care of it…and them. May it be so for us.
Jesus, Savior, pilot me over life’s tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll; hiding rock and treacherous shoal.
Chart and compass came from thee; Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
As a mother stills her child, thou canst hush the ocean wild;
Boisterous waves obey thy will, when thou sayest to them, “Be still.”
Wondrous sovereign of the sea, Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
Pastor Rachel Moser