“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” I Peter 5:7
It was one of those beautiful days on the beach after a storm. The temperature was in the low 70’s and the ocean waves were tossing foam and shells upon the beach. I decided to take a beach walk so I could photograph the gorgeous clouds and the waves that were dancing for joy. But just ahead of me I saw a young man with a large, heavy looking backpack strapped to his back and I wondered what stuff could be so valuable that you couldn’t leave it behind in order to enjoy a carefree walk on the beach.
Then I began to think about what burdens I too might be carrying this beautiful morning. The burden of an unpleasant conversation that I couldn’t forget, words I wish I had left unsaid, an opportunity to do something kind left undone, worries and anxieties pushed aside and covered up with other worries and problems. My own invisible backpack of problems was weighing me down and keeping me from enjoying this beautiful day and lovely walk.
Thought freedom comes from a process of substituting our worldly worries and frets with thoughts of trust in God. Sometimes I feel like I have a restless spirit. I think this is God’s way of telling me that my spirit is at odds with the direction of the Holy Spirit so my soul can not rest. When I have a restless spirit, I am not abiding in the peace of the Holy Spirit who indwells my soul. Our heart is where our own spirit dwells. We can have a spirit of fear, resentment, anger, bitterness, anxiety, worry or hopelessness. Our negative emotions and thoughts can enslave us and make us miserable. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
Trusting in Christ will set our heart free, but a spirit of hopelessness makes the body ill. The Holy Spirit is able to illuminate our darkness. He is able to direct and guide us into all truth. He wants to bestow on us His wonderful gifts.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22, 23 “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
There is great strength in calmness. When my circumstances seem our of control I begin to feel panic and want to run away from my problems even though I know the wise thing to do is to run to God. Sometimes I find myself holding so tightly to my problems that I just have to open my hands and say, “Please Lord, you take them. I just can’t carry them any longer.” The only way to hold the hand of Jesus as we walk along is to let go of our problems and give them to Him.
“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” Psalm 68:19
In order to have peace of mind we must quiet our thoughts and racing heart knowing that God is in control. He knows all about our problems and how best to solve them. Once our mind is quiet, we are able to come into His presence and listen to Him. When we stop trying to fix our problems ourselves and go to Him in prayer, we can rest peacefully while we wait on His perfect timing. “Find rest O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.” Psalm 62:5
Jesus knew that as long as we are in the world we would need peace. He promised the gift of peace so that we would not be afraid or have troubled hearts. The prayer of real faith is a prayer of joy because we pray knowing that we can trust God to answer our prayer if it is His will and is in our best interest. “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18
When we trust and love God, we desire to talk to Him and understand the situation from His viewpoint. When Jesus has complete control of our lives, He enables us to have a heart filled with peace. Oh the wonder and anticipation of waiting, knowing that our awesome Heavenly Father delights in answering our prayer with what is best for us. “And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7