Editor's Note: This is Part 2 of a two-part series. Read Part 1 here.
Grow in Gratitude
While it's important for us to present our requests to God with humility, it's also crucial that we cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Instead of giving into anxiety, we can step back to reflect on how God has exhibited His faithfulness toward us in times past. This time of reflection encourages the heart. The Lord who was faithful in times past and is the same yesterday, today and forever will be faithful once again. He is never anxious, never worried, never at a loss and always prevails.
Regardless of what His children feel they are up against, those situations are not greater than our undefeated God. He splits the seas, leads His people to safety, rescues, redeems, renews and frees. In the worst of situations, He provides hope; in the most trying times, He offers peace that annihilates anxiety; and in the midst of chaos, He supplies answers that create viable solutions for all involved.
Whether it's His exploits in the days of old, His creative ability within or around us, or His track record of faithfulness as provider, healer and friend, the Lord is always worthy of praise.
"He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32).
Regardless of the threats we're facing, the opportunity to open our mouths and thank the Lord for His ability, strength and provision is key to overcoming the temptation to be anxious. In these moments, we can find that life and death truly are in the power of the tongue.
In His graciousness, the Lord doesn't just tell us how to handle anxiety, but He builds anticipation for what is to come when we follow His command to evict anxiety from our lives. After removing the tentacles of anxious thinking and pressing through the flurry of "what ifs," there is space for what the Lord has provided for us. In its place we receive peace, serenity and tranquility built upon truth.
"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).
Exercise: Put Anxiety to the Test
- Has the Lord ever failed you?
No—Oh, OK. Go to No. 2.
Yes—Oh, really? Skip to No. 4.
- Has He ever failed to help you or take care of you?
No—Well, then move to No. 3.
Yes—Skip to No. 4.
- OK. Has He left you or bailed on you in your time of need?
No—Interesting. Move to No. 6.
Yes—Really? Move to No. 7.
- And by "failed," do you mean disappointed your expectations?
No—Not really? Move to No. 7.
Yes—I see. Move to No. 5.
- Were your expectations realistic, godly, derived from pure motives and for the good and maturity of everyone involved, for years to come and into eternity?
No—Probably not completely? Move to No. 7.
Yes—I see... Skip to B.
- If He hasn't forsaken you, has He ever completely and utterly failed you in some way?
No—Hmmm... Move to No. 7.
Yes—Then move to No. 7.
- Has He shown Himself to be untrustworthy or unkind to you?
No—OK, move to point A.
Yes—Fascinating; move to point B.
A. If the Lord is continuing to show you His goodness, then why are you so anxious? Really? Why allow anxiety to rule your thoughts and actions when the love the Lord has is so great? He loves His children. He is a good Father. And maybe the better question would be, how is your faith? Has your confidence in the Lord been taking a beating lately? Has the accusation against His nature, His ability and His love for you gained traction in your heart? More pointedly, do you believe God is good? Do you believe He has all power and controls everything? Do you believe He loves and likes you? Because if you absolutely believe these things, if you believe truth, then fear and anxiety are not your portion. They have no place in your life. They are squatting in the space the Lord wants to grow and birth the miraculous. Shove them aside; replace them with truth. Plant the Word in your heart and see the Lord grow it into something beautiful that can withstand the pressures of life, the threats of the enemy and the uncertainty of what's ahead as you rest in the certainty of God's loving hands.
B. That's interesting. Well then, if you can foresee how one event relates to and impacts all involved, then you're definitely a top candidate for sustaining all things. Or you could be dealing with a sneak attack of pride and stepping onto a path blazed by Lucifer. Be careful! Because the Lord is clear that His ways are high above our ways. There's a good chance there is a reason as to why events didn't work out the way you desired. And before you ever realized the outcome to your problem, God had created a plan for redemption, because God is always good. And while that event may have felt disappointing—or even still feels crushing—the Lord's nature as one who redeems, who causes all things to work for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, will prevail. Then all disappointment will be exchanged for true fulfillment and true joy that will last for all eternity. But it's your choice to believe that, or not, and respond accordingly.
Fia Curley serves on the NightWatch at IHOPKC, participating in prayer, worship and intercession from midnight to 6 a.m. She enjoys blending her passion for prayer, worship and journalism as she labors with the Lord to see His goodness revealed to families, government leaders and immigrants from non-Christian nations.
This article originally appeared at ihopkc.org.
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