When God is Painting a Much Bigger Picture
This is some scary stuff that we’re dealing with right now.
At this point, who can even remember what we talked about that didn’t have something to do with a worldwide pandemic?
When this whole thing started, there were some who gave it very little attention, not expecting it to really be that big of a deal. And then there were others who acknowledged it’s existence but didn’t feel too concerned as it was all happening in other countries. But once the problem started creeping its way to our doorsteps, people seemed to have one of two initial reactions. We either 1) felt like this was being blown out of proportion and everything was going to be fine. Or 2) complete panic, clearing the toilet paper from every shelf of every store.
When this pandemic first started coming at us full swing, there was so much fear wrapped around it. Every day we were hearing new information about how much it had evolved, who it could affect, and things that could make you more susceptible. The number of daily cases were climbing and the count on deaths slowly increased. We were handed a list of dos and don’ts and eventually began feeling guilty for wanting to escape from our home prisons to soak in the fresh air and sunshine.
Most of us have been quarantined for over a month now, desperately missing shopping plazas, gyms, or just getting together with friends and family. Things that seemed totally normal a few months ago can now feel like a crime. You’ll for sure be shamed for entering a public place without a mask or, heaven forbid, coughing.
The time we are living in is drenched with fear. Our initial fear was the fear of the unknown. As we learned what this thing was, and how quickly it could spread and affect others, many of us became terrified. And from there, countless other fears sprouted. We feared getting sick, getting others sick. We feared going to work, we feared not being able to pay bills. We feared how this would affect schooling and those students graduating. We feared going to the grocery store or simply leaving our homes. And plenty of us still have many of these fears.
Now, as this has become our new norm and many of us have come to terms with these concerns, we begin to hear talk about the states reopening. And this brings on a whole new set of fears for some of us. We are now faced with the reality that things cannot stay the way that they are.
But isn’t that always how it goes? Some big change happens and we’re given a choice as to how we will respond. Whether we choose to see the best, get angry, or be terrified, that change is still happening. And we have no choice but to adapt, to do what we can with what we’ve got. But once we adjust to that change, manage to resettle our lives, create a new normal, once we think we have all of our ducks in a row, there’s always going to be something else to come by and shake it all up again.
However we choose to react, we can never fully know the outcome of something like this, which can be quite worrisome. And while we are allowed to have worries and concerns, we ARE NOT called to sit in that fear and anxiety.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.Philippians 4:6-7 The Message
Surely we’re all incredibly familiar with this passage. Philippians 4:6 can be one of those overused pretty passages thrown out to anyone who may be suffering from the slightest concerns. Yes, we all know that we shouldn’t worry. It’s a church cliche to say that, instead of feeling anxious, we should just pray. And you know what, if it were that easy, none of us would be dealing with the fears of uncertainty that most of us are currently facing.
But this passage is more than verse 6. It goes on in verse 7 to remind us that by taking those worries and fears to God (The Passion Translation says “saturated in prayer”), instead of just sitting on them and working yourself into a frenzy, we can have peace. In The Message, it says we will have a “sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good”. Meaning there is a bigger picture God is creating that is so much greater than the moment we are living.
The moment that we are living in is hard and it’s scary, there’s no denying that. We have no idea where it may lead or even what to expect within the next few weeks. But one thing’s for sure, nothing has ever been made better with worry. If anything, it’ll keep you sleep-deprived, irritated, and flat-out exhausted.
The peace of God, though? Oh, that is a wonderful thing to have.
We want to encourage you today, if you’re struggling to find peace in this time of crazy uncertainty, to take your fears and concerns to God. It’s amazing how our attitude can change when we are able to see the bigger picture of what God is doing and not just focus on our temporary season of stressful uncertainty. We’re not saying it’s easy, but its certainly worth it.