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Peace for the Worried Heart

Worry is one of those things that does not actually do anything. But trust … that’s a different matter.

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An alarm sounded on my phone warning me of a tornado siting west of town. I turned on the local news and found the same warning.

Wanting to be cautious but not alarming, I told the boys we would hang out in the laundry room for a while until the storm passed. My oldest helped me collect a few things for us to sit on while my youngest made a beeline straight for the laundry room.

I found him curled up in the corner. “You okay, Buddy?” I asked.

“I was praying. I prayed that it wouldn’t be too bad.”

Trust vs. Worry

My son has long feared storms, lightning, and tornados. He’s not alone. We all have things that cause us to worry or fear. Worry is paralyzing. It can rule our days, control us, and keep us inward focused. It tells us that we are on our own and that we have to rely on ourselves. It steals our joy and peace.

The truth is, worry is one of those things that does not actually do anything. It can’t change our circumstances or help us in any way. As Spurgeon said, “Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.”

But trust — that is a different matter. Psalm 112:17 says, “He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.” Like oil and water, worry and trust don’t mix. We can’t worry and trust at the same time. But the more we trust and rest in Christ and His love for us, the less worry has a hold on us. When we depend upon Christ and His accomplished work for us, our gaze turns away from ourselves. When we keep our eyes focused on Christ, no matter how strong the storm that swirls around us, we are securely anchored in him.

Trust in Prayer

As the wind and rain continued to rage on outside our house, my boys and I sat and read books together. Then the storm got louder and my youngest hid under a pillow.

“Want me to pray?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said.

We held hands while I prayed for God’s protection. I prayed for the fear in his heart and that he would trust in God’s love for him. I prayed for peace while we waited for the storm to pass.

Philippians 4:6-7 says, “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.”

Scripture calls us to give our worries and fears to God in prayer. It is in prayer where we literally shift our gaze from what’s going on around us and place our trust in the One who created and controls the wind, rain, and all the storms of life. Prayer is trust in practice. Through prayer, we acknowledge God’s sovereignty over our life. We pour out our worries and fears to Him, wrapped in thanksgiving for all He’s done.

The Gift of Peace

Then God gives us the gift of peace. This peace is not a forced peace or a painted on peace that pretends everything’s okay when it isn’t. Rather, it’s a peace centered and founded on Christ. It is a peace that comes from knowing that because Christ took on our greatest fear at the cross — eternity apart from God — we can trust him with all other worries and cares. And this peace protects our minds and hearts in the midst of the storms of life. It’s like a gift of shelter to rest in while we ride out the storm.

If you are in a storm today, cry out to God in prayer, ask Him for greater trust, and receive the gift of a “peace that passes all understanding.”

Christina Fox received her undergraduate degree from Covenant College and her Master's Degree in Counseling from Palm Beach Atlantic University. She writes for a number of Christian ministries and publications including Desiring God Ministries and The Gospel Coalition. She is the author of A Heart Set Free: A Journey Through the Psalms of Lament (Christian Focus, 2016). You can find her at www.christinafox.com, @christinarfox and www.Facebook.com/ChristinaFoxAuthor.

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Peace for the Worried Heart

by Christina Fox time to read: 3 min