Who's Got Your Back?
I often have trouble believing that God is enough to give me joy, or believing that the best way to handle conflict is with gentleness, or that the best way to deal with anxiety is prayer and faith. These are three separate issues and at times I struggle with each one individually.
Read today's Remix Section in the Bible by clicking here.
Paul refers to each of these in his letter to the Philippians. These lines have spoken to me at different points, but today something stood out as the central point that all of this issues that I struggle with revolve around.
Paul just got done telling two women to stop fighting and having conflict with each other, but instead to be united. He immediately moves from there to discussing their corporate issue of being persecuted.
The three important ways he says to deal with persecution is 1) take joy in the Lord alone 2) Let gentleness be evident 3) Resolve anxiety with prayer.
I struggle with all three issues and I am not in persecution, I am in my comfy bed in the Heartland of America. The worst I get is an insult, and I still struggle with these issues today.
But I found the subject sentence of this entire paragraph, which is the reason for all of these ways to deal. Paul wrote, “The Lord is near.”
Jesus is near. That is the answer. Different translations reveal two different ways this could be taking, and I think both apply. 1) The Lord is ever present. Jesus is always with us. God has not forgotten me. So when the Church suffers persecution, He is with us! And when I am anxious simply because I do not see how God will provide, He does not abandon me. And when I am trying to find my joy in anything other than God (stuff, people, or activities), He does not go on a coffee break.
God does not leave me. He is unmoving. The only one to move in this relationship is me!
2) The Lord is coming. I believe, like Paul did, that Jesus will physically come back soon. Soon can be next Tuesday at noon or in another 1,000 years, but whatever length of time it is, it is a moment we should be looking forward to. No tears, no pain, no hurting, no longing. Perfect restoration, wonderful day. There is no reason to be afraid then, because Jesus is coming back, this is temporary. There is no reason to let all our problems here heated, because it wont last. He is near.
No matter what you are going through, what pain, what struggle, what abuse, or situation God has not and will not abandon you. It might feel like He is distant, but He promised to never leave you, so have courage and stay close because He won’t leave.
 Philippians 4:5b NIV