The Bible says we shouldn’t worry, even in times like these, here’s how you do that – Roanna Day

A colleague of mine just had her car broken into because she had hand sanitiser on display. Fear has crept its way into the throne room in so many lives and we as the church have to figure out a way to live differently. To be peaceful in the storm; unafraid in the face of a panic. 

Bill Johnson says any storm you sleep through is a storm you have authority over. So; how are you sleeping at the moment? How’s your mental health? When was the last time you relaxed your shoulders and took a deep, long breath? How many extra bags of pasta did you add to your last Ocado order? 

We have a heavenly responsibility to respond and not to react, to move to a different rhythm than that of the rest of the world and it’s times like these when that call becomes just that bit harder. 

Our job is laid out clearly in Matthew: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”

Do not be anxious. Do not worry. This is non negotiable! Matthew doesn’t write: “It’s fine to worry as long as you pray a lot too.” Or, “go ahead and worry, just make sure you’ve donated to your local food bank.” The message is; do not be anxious. 

Admittedly, this is a touch challenging. I look at my immunosuppressed dad and can’t help but think of what will happen if he contracts coronavirus. I cradle my newborn daughter and worry about how she would survive a high temperature. I wonder whether I’ve washed my hands thoroughly enough, did I remember the back of my thumbs? Suddenly door handles, light switches and TV remotes loom, germ-ridden and passed so easily between me, my dad, my husband. They’ve probably got some baby sick on too! How on earth do I keep everyone safe? Quick! I better order some more bleach. 

“Here’s the hard truth: you determine whether you worry or feel anxious or not.”

Here’s the hard truth: you determine whether you worry or feel anxious or not. Not the situation, not anyone else, not the coronavirus. You. Whether we worry or not is decided by what we turn our focus to, what we fill our ‘house’ with, what we pour over and what we empower in our lives. 

Later on in Matthew we get a glimpse into how we can live a worry-free life: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

‘Come to me’ says Jesus. Come and I will give you rest. This liberating invitation from our Father God is the key to a worry-free life. It’s the thrumming heartbeat of our faith and in moments like this, it’s our lifeline. 

There is no caveat to this invitation. This applies in times of war and famine, in times of joy and celebration and in times of loo roll shortages and obsessive hand-washing. Whatever the day, whatever it is you’re carrying, take it to Jesus and he will give you rest. That’s a promise. 

“Whatever the day, whatever it is you’re carrying, take it to Jesus and he will give you rest. That’s a promise.” 

The other strategy to overcoming anxious thoughts is found in Psalm 34. Verse 14 tells us to “seek peace and pursue it”. This verse echoes the command in Matthew when you remember that Jesus is called Prince of Peace. Peace is a person, peace is Jesus Christ and so peace is the presence of Jesus Christ. Taking a touch of creative liberty you can rework the Psalm’s instruction into this: “Seek Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Pursue him and he will give you rest.” 

David gives us another clue to peaceful living in the opening of this beautiful Psalm “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.”

How does David stay peaceful? How does he find rest in the storm? How does he bring himself to the feet of Jesus in valley seasons? Through praise, constant praise. 

I hate to pile the pressure on, but, it is our birthright and responsibility to be peaceful every single day. Our King commands it! Thankfully He handed over the blueprint for peaceful living:

  • Run to Jesus
  • Constant praise

“It is our birthright and responsibility to be peaceful every single day.”

If you’re thinking “that’s all well and good but how do I actually do those things?” then here are some practical tips, inspired by my own journey to peacefulness, to get you started… 

Watch what you consume: what you focus on has power. Watch things that make you laugh, meditate on God’s beautiful creation, read the Bible, listen to a church podcast, catch up with a faith-filled friend. I’m not saying you can’t watch *that* true crime drama but take note of how you feel before and after and just try and tip the scales towards consuming things that provoke joy over fear. 

Stay grateful: a few times a day thank God for a couple of the blessings in your life. This is such an easy way to switch your heart posture from fear to joy. Things I’m grateful for today? Our coffee machine, blooming daffodils and being able to exercise again. 

Listen to worship music: as much as you can, fill your house and your headphones with worship music. Yes, you will know every Bethel song off by heart, yes they all have the same four chords but no, it doesn’t matter. Worship music changes the atmosphere around you and it recalibrates your mind, spirit and soul too. I wouldn’t have survived this season without it. 

Being peaceful in times like these takes effort and discipline but it’s so worth it. It means you sleep soundly at night, it means you become a safe space for others and importantly, it means you become a blazing advert for the goodness of God.

Go meet with Jesus and tell him all about it, a great night’s sleep awaits.