I live in the rolling hills of Ohio . . . which basically means flat. And I have to say I like it that way. Beautiful farmland and only a few step hills scattered across the county.
Rarely do you even find a stop light perched at the top of a hill around here. When I visit my friend in Pittsburgh, it is quite the opposite. Pittsburgh is a beautiful city, but please don’t make me drive. Why? Well, not only am I a country girl not used to driving in the big city, but most of all . . . I don’t like stopping my car on hills. Yep, that’s me . . . full confession here, friends.
My uncle used to have a house with a mega-steep driveway. The kind that makes you want to hold your breath until you reach the top. And it was even worse on Dan’s motorcycle when he had one.
About 20 minutes away from my house is the only local hill, the very steep hill, that peaks at a stop light. You can barely see the other three ways that luckily get to approach from a flat horizon. I sometimes avoid that road simply because I know I will get stuck at the light and . . . have to stop on the steep hill (wait, are my palms starting to sweat?).
But truthfully, the worst part is not the stopping. It is when the light turns green and I release my foot from the brake pedal. And (gasp), it happens. The roll back. The most dreaded couple seconds in my car-driving, hill-stopping life.
I roll back, hoping the car behind me is not too close, and then jerk ahead with acceleration. Ok, my friend in Pittsburgh does it much more graciously than I, but she is used to the hills.
The tricky part of it all is that you have to release and roll back in order to move ahead. You have to let go! And worry is not all that different. We can let all kinds of concerns plague our hearts and minds.
We can be consumed with questions or doubts. We can worry about how our kids will do in the new classroom; will kids be friendly to them, will they be friendly to others, will they grow into the people we want them to be? We can think heavily on work issues, health issues and so much more.
But the key with worry is to roll it back and follow the Scriptures. God’s Word tell us:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4:6-7
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
When we are feeling anxious or nervous about how the next part of the road will be revealed, we are blessed in Christ to have a Heavenly Father that invites us to bring all that concerns us right to Him. Did you catch the part of the verse that said we can present anything to Him? Do you feel like your concern is too small? He says, “Bring it!”
How do we bring it? Through “prayer and petition with thanksgiving.” When you are praying, thank Him for how He has worked in the past. Thank Him for how He will work in the future. He is a good Father who does not give a stone when you ask for bread (Matthew 7:9). Thank Him for the blessings in your life. Thank Him for how He will work through this situation, this concern, this worry and bring glory to Himself and growth and joy for you.
The result? Peace. The peace that will keep our hearts and minds safe in Jesus. Can you picture a layer of protection around your heart and mind? He holds us and protects with His peace. Worry will flee. Peace will flood.
Why? Because He cares for us. We are His children, His family, His beloved. You are safe with Him. You are safe to let go of the worry, to roll it back and allow Him to take you forward. And then peace. Beautiful, sustaining and hope-filled peace.
One thing is certain, there will be steep hills a’coming. Life is full of ups and downs, bending roads and steep paths. But those steep roads lead you to the top of the mountain and that is where the best views can be found.
What is concerning you today? What worry are you facing that needs to be exchanged for God’s peace?