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The Lord Is Near
‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, 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.’ Phil 4:4
Recently I’ve kept coming back to this verse and know God is speaking into my heart not to be anxious. Paul tells us not to be anxious about Anything!
Is that really possible? There are so many things we do get anxious about after all. I often worry that a meal I am cooking won’t turn out well or a haircut will go wrong. Then there’s the serious worries… A dear friend became ill last week and I was very anxious about him; Another friend was struggling emotionally and I couldn’t stop thinking about her. Financial struggles and the anxiety that we won’t have enough; Worrying news about my eyesight… So many potential worries for us all. How can we not be anxious?
But as I meditated on these verses I discovered the key in one simple little phrase. In fact it’s the phrase that starts off Paul’s exhortation not to worry. He says very simply ‘The Lord is near.’ The Lord is near you and He is near me. He is standing alongside you in all you have to deal with ready to give you strength, peace, love and joy. He knows the nitty gritty of our lives, the harsh reality of how things can change in a moment. Yesterday when I was very busy I was emptying a full rubbish bag and it split as I pushed back the porch door to get to the outside bin. Kitchen waste and cat litter spilt all over the porch floor and front steps! Something heavy from the rubbish flew backwards and shattered a window and fragments of glass added themselves to the mix! I fetched a dustpan, brush and disinfectant feeling fed up. This was just one more thing! But as I knelt in the midst of the rubbish and struggled to get it all up, I suddenly became aware that Jesus was kneeling there with me. He didn’t care about the mess or getting dirty. He was just there, full of love and gentleness in the middle of everything with me, as He always is with you too. He was saying: ‘I’ve taken every tiny trace of muck from your life, everything you worry about, I care about and have already acted on your behalf. Every little detail, every tiny fragment of pain, regret or worry I’ve carried myself in my great love for you. Be at peace, I am near and I will never forsake you.’
Lord Jesus, thank you that you are always with us and as we listen, you give us true peace and comfort. Help us in our anxieties to rest in your love and even when things seem a complete mess, to know you are there, kneeling in the midst of it with us. With you alongside we can be full of joy. We can climb the highest mountains. Amen.
20th July 2012
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