I wish He never would have said it. I would have preferred something like, “Follow me and all your problems will be whisked away in the glory of My kindness.” That would have been a statement I could have rejoiced in. But no, that is not what He said. “In this world, you will have trouble (John 16:33),” were the words He chose. And wow, are those words ever true! There is not a day that goes by that we are not in the midst of hard and difficult moments. But in the same breath, He gives us His purpose in allowing these things to come to pass. These are so that we can find our peace in Him. If we find peace in our environment, if the world was easy and wonderful, if every relationship brought nothing but joy, and every job, fulfillment, our peace would rest in our environment, not our God. And this brings us to our Verse of the Day:
When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought me joy. (NIV)
Our anxiety is soothed in the consolations of the Lord. He consoles us. He comforts us. The Holy Spirit has been given a home in our hearts as our Comforter. But what is comfort? It is not the absence of pain. It is the soothing of that pain. It is relief that calms the anxiety. It is the ministry of His presence reminding us that despite all that we are facing, He remains. Nothing can force Him to stay away. He is greater than anything this world has in its toolbox to separate us from our God (Romans 8:37-39). He is always with us (Psalm 46:1).
The word ‘consolation’ comes from a root word that means ‘to call near.’ It is in times of trouble the Lord calls us near to Him. Like the embrace of a father in tragedy, the children of God find comfort in His arms.
By design, we are social beings. We need one another. We are strengthened or weakened by the heart-strength or lack thereof of those we keep company with. The Bible warns us about the company we keep because the Divine design of our soul leaves us open to influence by those around us. The part of us that allows us to connect with God allows us to connect and be influenced by people. Fearful people will be strengthened by people of faith or the people of faith can be brought low by the anxiousness of others. We are called to help those in need and to lift them up, but we must not allow those waning in their faith to strip us of ours. For this reason, we must practice the presence of our Lord who never brings us down but continually fills our doubt with His presence.
When we come into His presence, though anxious, angry, or depressed, we are strengthened as the Holy Spirit speaks words of comfort, promise, and hope. We are filled with a peace that transcends understanding and He is glorified in us that others might see our peace and want it.
Stress and anxiety are natural and we all get stressed. The important thing is to come into the presence of our Lord, cast our cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:7), and find comfort to soothe our fear in the arms of our Father.
How do you help yourself come into the presence of the Lord when you are stressed? What are some things that help you?
May the Lord grant you peace in every situation.
Live blessed and be a blessing!