Philippians 4:5b-7 - The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. When my husband and I were dating he would point out this "worry spot" I got between my eyes when I was concerned about something. Somehow in the past 8 years, that spot has all but disappeared. I would like to credit this solely to sanctification--to a deep understanding that the Lord is at hand. That He's near and I don't have to worry. Sometimes, this is true--I'm resting and trusting.
Much of the time, though, I'm just being optimistic.
The problem with optimism is that my trust isn't in God or His sovereign love. My trust is in "bright side" thinking. The ability to look on the bright side of every situation is something I used to consider a strength. And it can be. But sometimes it lets us down.
Sometimes the bright side just isn't there.
Sometimes we can't say, "Well at least..." or "Yeah, that's horrible, but think about it this way."
Sometimes there's no visible silver lining.
If my trust in God is dependent on seeing the bright side of things, there will come a day when my trust falls apart. When I can't see the silver lining and I am forced to really contend with God.
When homes in our neighborhood are broken into, our neighbor tells us she just doesn't want anyone taking the things she's worked hard for. I pridefully pity her, thinking I'm wiser and able to trust God more. After all, it's just stuff. But my "trust" falls apart a bit when I think of someone taking not just our old hand-me-down furniture or electronics. What if they harm my children?
The problem with optimism is there are some situations I can't imagine being optimistic about. And harm to my children is certainly one of those.
And so I'm learning my trust has to be deeper. It has to be in Someone greater than me and my ability to think positively.
The Lord is near. If you tell me not to be anxious, I can't do it. But if you tell me, "Don't be anxious, the Lord is near. He is at hand--returning soon! Come to Him with your requests and your concerns, thank Him for His faithfulness. And you will have peace. Amazing peace that surpasses understanding. And it will guard your heart and your mind," that is what I need.
Not "don't worry about it...things will look better tomorrow."
Trust in a God who is near; a God who has suffered in my place; a God who loves me deeply as His child.
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. - Psalm 145:18
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. - Psalm 34:18
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. - Ephesians 2:13 -
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works. - Psalm 73:25-28