Remember who your friends are

“He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord” (Psalm 112:7). I’m horrible at memorizing Scripture, but due to my sometimes overwhelming desire to know what lays ahead, so that I can plan for the worst in case it happens, this verse is now locked in. The entire last sentence is laden with sin: lack of Scripture memorization, desire to know the future, thinking I can plan out responses to unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances. Each of these, however, lead to the deposit of God’s Word in my mind so that I can recall, repeat, and remember what He’s saying in this particular verse.

For some, worry and anxiety aren’t close friends; but I’m going to assume that they accompany most of us as we go throughout our days. Unfortunately, they’re only hanging out with us when we’re imagining how we’d deal with instances that are dark. I’ve never entertained them when my mind is fixated on upcoming pleasurable experiences or invited them in for conversation that is focused on a joyful event. They’re with us when we’re thinking of things that we do not want to happen, or that we believe we may be able to prevent from occurring at all. As David says in this Psalm, the bad news on the horizon, and the fear of it looming. Sadly enough, we’re overcome by this fear of bad news and, most of the time, it never even happens. What a waste. And if it does arrive, and the world seems like it’s going to cave in when it does, that’s when we move into the second portion of the verse, but not without remembering that our fear is misplaced if it is focused on anything other than God Himself.

To fear God, above and before all else, can be difficult to live out, but it is an exercise of the mind. It may seem foreign to be able to set our minds on fearing Him as we gather with our deceitful friends, worry and anxiety, enagaging in thoughts that’ll carry us only farther from Him. It’s not natural, by any means. But, as Christians, we’re indwelt with the Supernatural. The Spirit is in us, ready to guide our thoughts towards the power, majesty, providence, and righteous will of the Almighty. We need not go far to find Him amidst our clouded and consuming fears, especially if His Word has been implanted on our minds, memorized and ready to read out when we’re in need of ushering unfruitful fears out the door. Be assured, there is no room for these friends that encourage our fears when we intentionally invite our minds to be filled with the Spirit.

Let the news come, perceivably good or bad, as nothing comes to pass unless He has ordained it. The second half of the verse tests us by disciplining our minds and hearts to remain steadfast in Him. This is part of how we can love the Lord with all our hearts, minds, and soul. We may have emotions that waver, but our deepest dedication must be unwavering by believing, and trusting, in God as we welcome His will. This isn’t to imply that bad news shouldn’t cause us pain, but that the pain will always have purpose. That isn’t a trite statement, a phrase that’ll boost us up to toughen our integrity, but trusting that His purposes will be carried out even when it’s painful to bear, can provide the solace necessary before, during, and following whatever circumstances come that we’re in fear of. Reminding ourselves that His will supersedes ours is not only humbling, but glorifying to Him.

My friends have visited me frequently, darned near took up residence, since becoming a mother. Never before do I recall worrying or having anxiety as much as I do now that I have learned firsthand what it means to love sacrificially and unconditionally. Although I’m thankful that I have grown in that area, I’ve been failing as I’ve let my love and trust in God be challenged by my fear of bad news in the familial setting. Bad news has come, will come, but the Good News stays. And when we set our minds on that foundational reality, on a necessarily consistent basis, we can welcome in legitimate worries, but not allow them to stay. We can be vulnerable enough to feel pain, but know that it’s for His purposes. We can see anxiety coming, for whatever reason, and refuse it right at the door. All these things we can do to combat seemingly competing thoughts by having our minds and hearts steadfastly set on trusting Him, refocusing our fears of the unknown onto where they ought to be, on fully fearing God first.

Although worry and anxiety may appear to befriend us as we attempt to deal with or prepare for tomorrow, we must call them out for the foes that they really are. Truly we cannot control much of what happens, but we do have the ability and must desire the fortitude to control our thought life. When our minds risk becoming battlegrounds between Truth and deceivers, we will always be better off letting Scripture be the sword that fights for our allegiance. Let His Word in, because He will win.

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