There is no way that I am proud of this, but I have confessed a number of times to the congregation that I do not live an anxiety-free life. It concerns me that if I were to have an eyeball to eyeball conversation with Jesus, he would look at me and say something very similar to what he said to Martha in Luke 10:41, “Paul, Paul, you are worried and upset about many things.”
I sincerely want to improve in this area. Therefore, I read Scripture, apply Scripture, pray, turn things over to the Lord – in short, if you get points for a sincere effort – I would get some points. Part of my approach is that I am constantly on the lookout for insights from people who have had more success than I at erasing anxiety from my life.
Recently I read a Caring Bridge post by Chloe Glenn. https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/joshglenn32
I was so impressed with the depth of her insight as she wrote about the situation that she and her family face due to Josh’s health. I was ashamed of myself and my worries. I know that many of you receive the Caring Bridge about Josh, so if it is a re-read for you, I apologize, but here are the words I am referring to:
Today I was remembering back a few weeks to the times we were chasing his blood pressure, searching for causes of infections, managing his pain, and watching his pressures. He was so unstable. This week he has been very stable! All of his stats are great and holding steady! There has been so much progress and answers to our prayers!
Yesterday when I was talking with Josh I had an insightful thought. I was remembering back to the spring when we were selling our house, searching for a new house, and navigating the diagnosis of his massive brain AVM. I was so full of anxiety. Thinking about our future and not knowing how it would all play out was eating me up. Josh kept telling me to just view it as a great adventure and enjoy it, but that was a struggle for me. All of the unknowns of the future felt scary.
As I sit in our bed in our new house typing this I realize I am living in the days that I had been so full of anxiety over. God directed our path, provided for our needs and was present every step of the way. Actually, Josh’s coma is even worse of a situation than I had imagined in my days of anxiety in the spring, however, I’m living through it, God is providing, and he is present.
When I am anxious about the future I forget that God is going before me, preparing the way, and will be present when that future time comes. Fear of the future is a lack of trusting God. Boy do I have to constantly remind myself of this often! I feel like I’ve learned, relearned and yet still have to continue to learn this.
Today I was reading and reflecting on Exodus 33. God tells Moses to take the people into the abundant land that God promised them a long, long time ago. However, the peoples’ hearts had gone astray so God was not planning to go with them. He was going to fulfill his promise to give them the land but let them go on their own. Moses takes some time to dispute this idea and says, “If your presence does not go with us we will not go.” The Lord said, “My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest.”
In our current situation, though it is extremely challenging, God’s Presence is with us. There was really nothing to be anxious about when I was feeling anxious about the future because God went before us, directed us and is currently present.
Final thought from Paul:
I plan to put those words to work in my own life. I am driving a stake in the ground, and I am determined to trust the Lord, trust his presence, and trust the fact that in terms of the future – he is already there.