Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Whether it is one task or situation or a slew of them, it is not unusual to find ourselves being confronted with anxiety. Our situation can be so daunting we feel like the disciples in the boat in the midst of the storm: we’re overwhelmed and Jesus is asleep. Their focus was on the storm, the wind and the waves – rather than upon the fact that He was with them. Then when they did cry out to Jesus, they were frantic. How often do we do the same?
From reading today’s verse, it’s pretty clear that God knows about our tendency to become anxious. From finances, to illness, to family issues, to jobs – our lives are ripe with opportunities for us to choose the wrong way to go when the ‘storm’ of anxiety comes. But it’s important that we recognize that His prescription isn’t intended to be a ‘fire alarm’ – pull in case of fire – although it can still work that way.
It prescribes a way of life and the establishment of a relationship that will enable us to live in peace while in the midst of stormy situations. We are to live the verse day by day. Think of a college student who doesn’t really study all term and then crams like crazy for the final, versus the student who has faithfully studied day by day throughout the term. Both might do well on the final, but one has chosen wisely and the other hasn’t.
Each day, the Lord wants us to be looking to Him. He cares about us and the situations we face and wants us to become confident of that. A very helpful illustration comes from nature. Waterfowl have a tiny oil-secreting gland located at the base of their tail known as the uropygial gland or ‘Preen Gland’. When a duck is preening, as we have all seen, its head and beak are spreading this oil over its feathers. This oil helps to maintain the luster of the feathers – but more importantly it makes the outer feathers waterproof. Without this protective barrier, a duck’s feathers would become water-logged.
Praying and presenting our requests to Him daily with thanksgiving is His wisdom for us. Doing this develops a protective barrier for us and is an antidote to becoming ‘water-logged’ with anxiety. Through these actions He also enables us to become so much more aware of His working in our lives. Our confidence in Him becomes strong resulting in appreciation and gratitude. Thankfulness becomes the reality of our lives.