I had a bad night last night as I seemed to be awake most of the night unable to rest and go to sleep. I am sure that I am not alone with this dilemma. But thankfully this does not happen to me often but when it does I tend to worry.
As I lay there in bed, with the darkness closing in around me and my mind going through all the 'what ifs.' What if I cannot go to sleep. What if there is something wrong with me. What if I cannot function in the morning. As I lay there desperately hoping to go to sleep it came to me; is this the kind of faith and trust that God expects of his children? The answer that came to me is probably not, for although I said that I trusted in God to see me through I was not at peace.
As these thoughts filtered through into my heart I was made aware by the Holy Spirit that Paul had said that he had learned the secret to be content in any situation. (Cf. Philippians 4:12) This idea struck me for I knew that I was not content, rather I was anxious. At this point in my conversation with God he brought to my mind the picture of Jesus sleeping in the boat that was tossed about in the storm on Galilee. As I contemplated this picture I came to the conclusion that Jesus was content and he certainly was at peace.
Slowly it dawned on me that to have faith/trust in God as our Father, is to be at peace in all situations and also to be content with our lot. I certainly did not sleep through every calamity that came upon me, for I tended to worry the 'what ifs'. At this point I felt a deep sense of shame come upon me for although I said that I had faith in God and believed so my mind, I was not at peace and content as Jesus was in the boat.
It was around this time in my conversation with the Holy Spirit that I boldly said that I wished I had the faith that Jesus had which was demonstrated in the boat that day. For it began to occur to me that my faith was really a 'gritting ones teeth' and hanging on tight hoping that it will work out OK. Is not this the faith that the unregenerate person demonstrates? For as Jesus said our righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees. (Matthew 5:20)
As I was digesting this revelation I recalled again Paul's statement of being content. The words in the NIV are: I have learned the secret. This concept of learning hit me between the eyes. It was my responsibility to bring myself to a place of contentment. As I was digesting this revelation the Lord turned my thoughts Psalm 62. I was not surprised by this as I had been meditating on this Psalm for a number of days.
I opened my Bible and began to read: Truly my soul finds rest in God my salvation comes from him NIV
There it was again: I had to find rest. I had to seek out rest.
As I read on I came to verse 5. Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Here the writer is telling himself that he must make up his mind and seek rest in God. For until we find rest in God we will not fully experience his salvation, deliverance, healing and presence. For I had noticed the order; peace first before salvation.
How can we find the secret of being content. How can we discover our rest in God. As I see it there are a number of steps.
Firstly we need to realize that our faith does not measure up to the righteousness that God expects.
Secondly we need to gird up our mind that we are going to change that situation and seek a faith that Jesus displayed in the boat.
Thirdly I believe that if we lack wisdom we can ask, (James 1:5) so why not ask the Lord to impart the faith of Christ into our hearts, so that his faith becomes our faith. (Galatians 2:20)
Religion says that I trust in God, he is my rock and refuge and I will hope for the best; but the disciple of Christ who is one with him, knows by experience that God is his rock and refuge for he has tasted of his goodness as honey to the mouth.
This blog has been a blessing to me and I trust and pray that those who read it will also be blessed, as God wills.
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Having an anxiety dosser your blog read was of GREAT interest to me. Dr. Sheehan from Harvard Medical School was the first to derive the diagnosis in 1981 of the spectrum of anxiety disorders. A whole chapter was devoted to ones who suffer the repeated over and over throughout the night "What If" questions. Typically arriving at the worst case conclusion of mind.
All this to say contentment and peace with love is what my soul longs for and I with you have meditated long and hard on God's command through Paul to be content in all circumstances. I love everything you outlined! I simply offer where the Lord has brought me.
Contentment He calls me to as I struggle in the storm riding in the boat with Christ seemed unfair. The the Holy Spirit set me straight in knowing though body chemistry not right in this world probably ever from biochemical imbalances ... He called to contentment/peace though still "anxious" in the storm; knowing the Creator of the wind and waves sat beside me regardless of whether He awoke and chose to calm it.
He slept peacefully knowing the other side would be reached.
Thank you for sharing this message ... if only for me.
This blog has been a blessing to me, wmj, for I know all too well the nighttime effects of restlessness, they can be daunting. I thank you for the three steps you gave us to help us.
Amazing! This was my devotional scripture this morning. As I read your blog, I too can relate to the war within our spirit fighting against fear/anxiety in our circumstances. I too seek the rest of God manifesting in His peace that I may receive my healing.
Glad your back!
I like the reminder of Jesus sleeping in the storm. I too struggle to sleep and have wasted hours on the what if train. Thank you for sharing your heart in the blog. It is encouraging.
I think as the comments show perhaps we all suffer from a bit of anxiety and "what ifs".
Two things come to mind:
Jesus - (Heb 5:7,8) In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.
Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.
There are many places in scripture that mention hope and faith, atlas, it is in whom and what we have these two for our assurance.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Rom15:13