Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.”
The sheer idea that God can redeem any situation and any person is always amazing to contemplate. Life at times is overwhelming and whether it seems to be frequent or come in clusters, it is always untimely. We can each relate to periods of crisis in our lives, or some type of trouble on the horizon, or perhaps just sheer difficulty in removing ourselves from pain and perhaps anguish. We each find ourselves during a difficult season of life at some point along the way and are never alone in these predicaments. This scripture from Philippians is a great reminder to communicate all these difficult issues as they arise to God himself. He hears our prayers.
On several occasions throughout the Bible a particular individual literally took their eyes off Jesus and instead placed their focus on the difficulty surrounding them, which ultimately overtakes and consumes them. A great example of this can be found in Matthew 14:28-30 NIV…
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
To me the lesson of this passage of scripture is twofold:
(1) Get out of the boat and start walking towards Jesus!
(2) ALWAYS stay focused and in relationship with Jesus to avoid sinking
If we allow ourselves to get scared or bewildered and take our focus off Jesus and rely instead on ourselves to try and get through the storm at hand…we will inevitably sink. We are naturally good at trying to “fix things” on our own, so it can seem counterintuitive to stay in prayer and in the word during the storms of life. Yet we are called to do these very intentional things daily and particularly during our storms.
We would each do well to build in healthy margins in our lives so that we can do the work God has sent us here to complete. We are each mere humans and are prone to physical, spiritual, and mental limitations. Psalm 119:96 says, “I have learned that everything has limits”. God himself created a built-in day of rest that we would each be wise to use. These limitations are here for our own good, and we would each do well to acknowledge them and accept them.
We commonly fail at recognizing our own human limits and are great at overestimating our abilities and underestimating obstacles and how much time things take to complete. Our modern-day culture here doesn’t help us at all because it says, “You can have it all!”. This is simply false teaching. We CAN each be all that God wants us to be, but we cannot be whatever WE want to be. Why? Because there are limits here in our lives, as to what we can successfully do. We live in this world, but don’t have to be of this world.
Thankfully, God has built in margins within each of us so that we can better realize our own limitations. These are things like irritability, fatigue, stress, lack of sleep, loss of joy, and pain. We are great at recognizing these things in those around us, yet often fail to recognize their source in our own journey. We should from time to time build in margins to our lives, so that we can experience the joy that comes when we’re not living on overload. Let’s agree to ask God to give us each the wisdom to recognize our limitations and ask forgiveness over and over for when we overstep our margins.
Finally, let’s find ourselves busy and involved in doing the Lord’s work. We are called to gather in His name, and not to scatter away into the business of life. There is little love found here in this world, but there is always the love of God found here in and among us as followers of Christ.