I have a confession to make. I woke up in the middle of the night having a bad dream. The kind of dream that seems pretty real, and yet it was not. And I could feel anxiety come creeping out from under the bed and into my sweet Lil’ head (because let’s be honest, anxiety is kinda creepy). It really shouldn’t surprise me. I have a feeling a lot of us who once sat around feeling safe and comfortable here on U.S. soil may have wrestled with this question today…
What if ISIS comes here?
Before going to bed, I had watched the tragedy unfold in Paris as reporters feebly attempted to make sense of the mess. But there was no sense. The tragedy seems incomprehensible. We don’t have the answers. That’s why we shudder in disbelief.
So in my dream, the scary ISIS dudes appeared in my own home. I woke up before anything tragic occurred, but just the thought shook me to the core. My babies live in my home and as Mama Bear, I feel I must protect them all the time.
Anxiety takes us captive when we take our eyes off of God
Fear is not a new threat to me. She has snuck out before. Taunting me and tossing out lies. Making false evidence appears oh so real. On a typical day, I would roll over and give my husband a big, fat squeeze, allowing his strength and might to comfort my soul under the safety of his muscular arms (honey, if you are reading this…kudos to me for the free compliment).
Unfortunately, he wasn’t there. I’m out-of-town and he is nowhere near. I stood up straight, staring at the walls of a strange hotel room, which made the experience even eerier. The lies of the Enemy came lunging towards me and I frantically tried to dodge. Lies. Big fat, hairy scary lies that told me that God was not big enough for this challenge. And maybe God no longer even cares.
Lies are like a deadly poison. The Truth is we don’t have to gulp it down.
This morning I turned to God’s Word for some better medicine by taking a look at the book of Colossians, where the Christians were battling to stay alive. They were newbies at this thing called Christianity and man oh man, they were under intense scrutiny. They believed that Jesus was the Son of God while everyone else around them had fallen for Satan’s old-age lie, which says, “You don’t need God. You can solve your problems apart from Him.” The heresy of the day is in Gnosticism, which believes that all matter is bad and only the pure spirit is good. They also begin worshipping angels rather than God Himself. This false religion is rooted in the speculation of man rather than the revelation of God.
Note to self: we should always compare what we hear to what God says. Otherwise, we too can be like the Colossians being tossed around with the current trend.
Paul, who always comes across as so cool and collected, writes words of truth while in his prison cell. Seriously, I wish I could be that calm. If I were in his shoes, my thoughts would probably be far scattered. My stomach completely tied in a boy-scout kind of knot, full of anxiety. But not Paul. By the grace of God, he gives us an example to follow.
“To God’s holy people in Colossae..”
First of all, let me mention…Paul doesn’t even know these people. I find it remarkable that Paul is sitting in prison and immediately he is more concerned about encouraging others than sulking about his cold and damp prison cell. Add to that, he addresses his letter to the “holy people,” reminding them that they have been set apart. If you are a believer, guess what…you have been set apart and regarded as holy too! No wonder this world seems so tumultuous at times. It’s because this is not our home!
“the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ”
Faithful implies a sense of stability, regardless of what is going on. It is constant. It is loyal. And once again, Paul reiterates his eternal relationship to his brothers and sisters in Christ. We are all on this journey together so let’s remember to encourage each other along.
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father”
Grace. Give us more grace oh Heavenly Father. It is by grace that we have been saved by faith (Ephesians 2:8). By grace that our slate has been wiped clean (Micah 7:19).
We will always need more grace and yet, it comes in ample supply.
Finally, we get to peace. Yes, peace. From a prison cell Paul passionately prays for peace…because he trusted and believed the Peace could be found. The words of Jesus must have been fresh on his mind, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27). Paul gets it. Despite the battle the Colossians were fighting, he knew there was Someone greater. Someone who we can put our trust in.
The tragedy we saw unfold in Paris yesterday was grimacing. Horrible. Ugly. Devastating. Yah, it was all of those things. But you know what? We can push back with the truth that “Greater is He that is in you than He who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
ISIS doesn’t scare God. Let’s not allow them to scare you and me either. We serve a great and mighty God!
HAS ANXIETY WALTZED INTO YOUR MIND? IF SO, HOW ARE YOU COMBATING IT?