Philippians 4:5-7

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
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 Jesus.
Philippians 4:5-7
Anxiety spreads like its own pandemic, not contagious on surfaces, in aerosols or particulates; but infectious in our newsfeeds and media, in the words we speak and post. How is it possible not to worry in the path of 100 mile-an-hour winds, in the darkness of 10-day power outages, or when masks feel thick and patience wears thin?
 
Oh, we worry all right. At least I know I do. Some of us become so restless with worry, we cannot rest until we take action against our fears, work to change our realities into something that better suits us.

On the website: change.org, ‘anyone can start a petition,’ so ‘people everywhere are starting campaigns, mobilizing supporters, and working with decision makers to drive solutions.’ Anxious about educating our children during a global pandemic, we petition school boards. Worried about our health, we petition for shelter-in-place orders or mask mandates. Concerned about preserving freedom and choice, we petition against mandatory vaccines. Wherever we’re prone to worry, in matters both profound and inconsequential, we can find a petition to present to representatives and governing authorities in our communities and around the globe. Vote by mail. Prohibit plastic bags. Bring back Big 10 football. Fight for justice. I even found one petition to bring the character ‘Flik’, from Disney’s A Bug’s Life, back to the Animal Kingdom as a meet and greet character.

It seems there’s a petition for every situation.

And that’s exactly what Paul writes to the Church at Philippi, and by extension to each of us, when he invites us “in every situation” to bring our petitions to God.

We may still sign petitions to pursue change in our communities and country, but we need not rage and rant in defense of our desires. Paul calls us to let our gentleness, this fruit of the Spirit, be evident to all, in our homes and with our families, in the grocery store aisles and on social media. He reminds us that our Emmanuel God is with us, and he invites us to bring our petitions to sovereign God, Creator of the universe, governing authority over heaven and earth for all eternity.

During a time when our culture is asking who has the right to a voice, a seat at the table, or a place in the room where decisions are made, we hold an invitation into the throne room of our holy God. When we accept these truths, by faith, through grace, we are filled with thanksgiving. Anxiety abates, and the peace of God guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
 
Questions for Reflection:
  1. What are you anxious about today? Before sharing your anxieties with a close family member or friend, before offering them up for a wider audience on social media, first take them to God in prayer, speaking the promises of Philippians 4 back to God.
  2. Paul tells us to offer our prayers and petitions with thanksgiving. In a journal, record what you are grateful for today. Make a list of all God has given you, beginning with His gift of salvation in Jesus Christ.
Rebecca Janni | Author

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