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A reflection by Rejoice counselor Derlyn Rhoades, LPC Intern

“Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Walking into my room one night as I prepared for bed I saw something dreadful out of the corner of my eye—a cockroach! Within a split-second adrenaline was pumping through my veins. Just like most people I have a huge fear of cockroaches, so I did the first thing I could think to do and that was to call my friend. What could this friend do for me? He couldn’t kill the cockroach for me but I knew that if I called him somehow he could comfort me and stir up my courage to get rid of this horrendous bug. It took a minute or two but I was eventually able to tackle my fear thanks to my friend’s words of reassurance and willingness to be patient with me. With the cockroach conquered and gone, peace was restored to my bedroom.

So what does this light-hearted story have to do with anxiety and finding peace in God? As we think about the people in our lives who reassure, support, and comfort us we may also be led to think about our relationship with God and how we find even greater support and comfort in Him. Of course the problem may be much bigger than an ugly bug. Maybe you lost your job, feel anxious in social situations, or are caught up in an ongoing family conflict—whatever the case may be there is someone in your life you can call who would want to give you some kind of peace and reassurance. How much greater could this peace and comfort be when coming from an Almighty God who created us and loves us more than we can possibly comprehend? Our God wants nothing more from us than for us to love Him deeply, to trust in Him, and for us to have a meaningful relationship with Him.

How do we even begin to trust in God? We should first recognize that God is in complete control of our lives. We depend on Him for our every breath and by realizing that every moment is a gift from Him, we can slowly learn to treat it as such. “In whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?” (Job 12:10).

In Paul’s letter to the Philippians he instructs us to tell God our requests, but sometimes we wonder, What’s the point in telling God my problems? If God knows my every breath then He surely knows my struggles. When we go to Him with our problems, we admit to Him that we are weak and that we need Him. We recognize His strength and our weakness and we put these struggles into His hands. Slowly we find peace in knowing that He is in control.

When we speak to God about our problems, we are able to reflect on these struggles in the light of Christ. During this reflection, we may turn to Scripture or prayer to listen to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is with us always to guide us in our day-to-day lives, and when we listen to the Holy Spirit we may find guidance and begin to grow more attune to the will of God.

In turning to Him in our troubles and anxieties, by “letting our requests be made known” to Him, we can learn to trust in Him and reflect on our situations in the light of Christ. In fact, we are called to trust in Him. We are called to fall deeper in love with Christ and even to strive to have a perfect love. But we have to start somewhere. We have to pick up that phone when the cockroach of life appears on our bedroom floor and let Him know that we are scared and we need His peace and assurance. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).