Everything seemed so bright. We had a wonderful life, complete with happy kids, good salaries, and a hopeful future. But one crisis after another happened, and that life faded away, leaving behind a pile of debt, unemployment, arguments, and so much anxiety.
What happened to my life, God? Did we do something wrong? Tell me what kind of magic-button prayer will get us out of this mess!
I cried everyday, wondering if I’d run out of tears, but they never did. Every day, I begged God to rescue us from the scary land of uncertainty and give us back the old life we had. I felt stuck in the middle of our painful circumstances and felt powerless to change the future.
So I played the only strategy I knew how to use: worrying. I thought I could protect myself from heartache and pain if I imagined all the worst-case scenarios in advance:
What if we can’t pay this month’s bills?
What if we can’t pay for the medical test?
What if we need a new transmission?
What if our life never gets better?
However, obsessing about all of my “what if” worries didn’t make me feel better. Instead, I felt worse! I ignored the wisdom of Matthew 6:27 (NLT): “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” Now I know the answer is no, but back then my worries stressed me out during the day and led to countless sleepless nights.
Maybe you’re like me, faced with an uncertain season of life and stuck in the middle of hardship or heartache. Consider how the disciples were immediately after Jesus was crucified. Though the text doesn’t tell us where they were or what they were doing, it’s not hard to imagine they were devastated by the loss of their teacher, leader, and friend. Perhaps they debated about the “what if” worries — What if the religious leaders come after us? What if everything Jesus taught us wasn’t true after all?
But Jesus knew the day would come when His disciples would be uncertain and fearful of the future, when worries would overwhelm their hearts and minds. So before His death, He imparts these powerful words to fill their hearts with faith when the time came:
I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I
give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
John 14:27 (NLT)
The peace Jesus gives is a supernatural feeling of calm in the midst of chaos and hardship. It’s the kind of peace we absolutely need when we’re not sure what will happen next.
It took a few years of stressed-out days and sleepless nights for me to learn to surrender my worrying ways in favor of Jesus’ peace, and though our difficult season continued, God was faithful to remind me of His promise of peace.
We can rest assured that His promise doesn’t have an expiration date. It never runs empty. And when our “what if” worries try to steal our calm and trust in Him, we are only a prayer away from receiving shalom from the Prince of Peace.