Sometimes I ask, “Why, God?”
I don’t know if I have ever gotten an answer to that prayer. When I ask “why” it is usually motivated out of frustration, fear (that He is distant) or, if really honest, a slight accusation against God that I don’t believe He is concerned or helping enough.
These verses always realign me to the right perspective and steps. 1. Thanksgiving 2. Request.
It reminds me He has been faithful and will continue to be faithful even when I am afraid or do not understand. “Please, help me” is a much better prayer because it recognizes He is the source of help and that He will act if I ask (and it rarely is answered the way I expect, but always is when I sincerely trust Him). Also, there is one very important thing to remember here. He never promised us understanding. However, He did promise peace above it all.
So, if any of you are tempted to ask, “why, God?” here is a quick walk from anxiety and fear to peace through Philippians 4:4-8. ….
- “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 NIV Rejoice in the Lord – not my circumstances. If my rejoicing depends on my circumstances I can always find a reason to not rejoice. I can always rejoice in Him and his goodness.
- “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:5 NIV Scared people scare people. Ungrateful, angry, fearful worried people are usually just scared way down deep and scared people are generally not gentle. We hit a panic mode that involves fight or flight and gentleness leaves the building. THE LORD IS NEAR. Here is the center of it all. No matter what we fear or feel, He is near and ready to help if we will let Him.
- “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 NIV Wow! Don’t be anxious or worried about anything. In every situation pray. Trust God and invite Him into your situation. Make my request and also involve thanksgiving. When I make requests with thanksgiving, I am reminded of all He has done over and over and by the end of it I expect He will answer me again.
- “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 NIV After I give thanks and remember the Lord is near and present my requests with thanksgiving, THEN His peace will fill my mind and soul. Often we want peace before we give thanks, make requests and not til after we get the answer. He says “I have peace for you in the middle of your mess, before the happy ending – trust me!” This isn’t easy. Often we want understanding because we think that will give us peace but the reality is that even if we understood some things it wouldn’t give us peace.
- “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 NIV (see “Don’t Let Fear Consume You” by John Smith). Be careful how you think and what you dwell on. What I fix my thoughts on will determine my mental and emotional well being in the long run.
Let’s talk about it! Process it more over coffee or with a friend:
- Have you ever found yourself asking, “why, God?” If so, what was the scenario or situation that prompted the question?
- In those times when you have asked the question, were you frustrated, afraid or angry? Were you afraid God wasn’t concerned or working on the situation hard enough?
- Have you ever really taken time to give thanks or praise during a time when you were anxious or worried about something? If so, how did it change your perspective or viewpoint?
- Have you ever had a time when you got worried or anxious and began to lose your gentleness toward others or had someone lose their gentleness toward you when anxious?
- Have you ever wanted understanding with the hope that it would give you peace? Have you ever come to understand the “why” behind someone’s decision or actions and still find yourself without peace even after understanding?
- Have you ever experienced “peace that passes understanding?” How would you describe that experience?
- Take a moment to rejoice in the Lord and think of 3 things or instances of the Lord’s faithfulness to give thanks for.