In relation to all of the unfortunate events happening in Paris, I was inspired to give (and receive) encouragement. I go to a great university where I am privileged to hear so many inspiring words. A great preacher named Brent Crowe spoke on the tragedy of Paris this morning. He gave us four points of advice, and they relate greatly to not being anxious. For a rule of clarification, the words in quotation marks are his. The ones that are not are my personal commentary.
1.”Don’t panic. Obedience is not found in anxiety.” I think what Pastor Crowe was trying to say here relates back to the passage in Psalm 46 that says, “Be still and know that I am God.” If we can’t trust God with the numbered days we have on earth, we should be in a constant state of panic!! God gives us purpose and reason to live. If some terrorist is threatening to come to your hometown, God knows that. Actually, He knew that a long time ago; so don’t be afraid.
2. “We will always have the provision of God as a Christian and we will also enjoy the presence of God.” Unfortunately I may have gotten this misquoted, but I will try to help you understand what exactly Pastor Crowe was saying. God’s provision and presence comes to us through His Holy Spirit when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. This presence becomes stronger as we seek God more and more throughout our lives. I know personally, I’m enduring a weak point in my relationship with Christ, but I know that it is mainly because I compare my walk with Christ to my friends’ and that does no good. Our spiritual time with God is personal. You don’t need to post on Facebook that you did your devotions this morning or that you prayed for an hour straight for God to notice. In fact, Scripture says, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” (Proverbs 27:1-2 ESV) If we honestly, earnestly, and constantly seek to know God better, he will provide for your needs, including your safety, and you will feel so much closer to Him. This ultimately results in peace: the thing that us anxious girls are searching for every day.
3. “Rejoice because our God is the same today as He was yesterday.” The terrorist attacks happened in Paris on November 13, 2015. Today is November 16, 2015. Guess what?? God is the same God he was on the 13th as He is today on the 16th! God was no greater today than he was in the midst of tribulation in Paris! I don’t know about you, especially those of you in Paris right now, but this concept has always been hard for me to grasp. I can tell you a bunch of words that make sense, but if I’m not honest then there is no point for me to be writing this blog. Beware: the next couple of sentences I’m about to write are not from rainbowland. It started in elementary school when I had my first bullies. It continued in middle school when I hated the way I looked. It continued in high school when my boyfriend of two years cheated on me and my father died of cancer. It continues today when I don’t understand the tragedies in the world. What am I talking about? I’m talking about the denial of the existence of God. How in the world could those girls pick on me when I was never mean to them? How in the world could God give me greasy hair, crooked teeth, and a unibrow? How in the world could there EVER be a God if I was supposed to lose my father at 17 or have a relationship fall apart and confirm my self-imposed worthlessness? How could there be a God when people continue to die from ISIS attacks? Yours may be how can there be a God when I struggle to get through every day and I wake up at night shaking and crying in a panic attack? Trust me girl, I didn’t start this blog because I’ve never been there…THIS BLOG is the reason that God allows evil to happen. I would never be this passionate about anxiety if I had never experienced it. I would never be able to be this honest with you if I had never experienced deep emotional pain. Is this making sense? God allows evil in the world so that His children can draw closer to Him! I know that was a really long explanation, but I feel that it was necessary for you AND me to grasp the concept of praising God, even when we don’t feel like there’s anything to praise.
Finally, 4. “This is not how the story ends.” Right now, in the midst of all this terrorism, it feels like the world is all there is. Of course, I am only 20 years old, and God-willing I have a whole lot more earthly life to live. But in the midst of evil, it is important to remember that there is not only the kind of purpose that God has given each of us on earth; but there is eternal purpose. We are not going to live here forever ladies! Heaven has got so much stored up for you and me sister! Just imagine that Sephora up there right now! (Just kidding, but really I hope God includes a little gift bag in my treasures.) This pain we’re seeing, feeling, and experiencing is not eternal. If you didn’t have anything to praise God for before, girl you better start hand-raising now (Shout-Out to all my Baptist girls up in here). Let me write that sentence one more time: This pain we’re seeing, feeling, and experiencing is not eternal. WHAAAAT?! CAN I GET AN AMEN.
I hope this brings some peace to your mind today, or whenever you read this. Here are a couple things to pray for over the next couple of weeks, or however long the ISIS attacks endure:
- Peace and comfort for the families who have lost loved ones, and the revelation to them of our God.
- Salvation for those imposing attacks on countries in the world. (Currently ISIS has threatened to attack the U.S. so be praying for us!)
- Courage, and good decision making for the leaders of each country affected by the attacks.
- The patience that is needed to be slow to anger