My dog Max often has intense dreams that get his paws moving. Early this morning, I woke up when I heard him whimpering. I did what I always do; I said, “It’s okay Max. It’s okay.” That is usually enough to calm him down. My voice. It is a voice he knows well – the voice of his master. It is a phrase I say to him a lot on our walks as I try to encourage him during his anxious, stressful moments.
This week, I am preparing a message about what Jesus said about anxiety and fear. After I told Max it would be “okay,” and he quickly calmed down, I considered how our Lord tells us in His Word that it will be “okay.” Sadly, we do not often take the time to listen to His voice or read His Word. Instead of resting in Him, instead of enjoying the peace only He offers, we allow ourselves to worry our days away.
I have seen anxiety rob friends and family of peace. I have seen the struggles of loved ones cause health problems, hospital visits, depression, and more. Worry, anxiety, fear—we all feel these things. Thankfully, we have a Father Who calls out to us. We have a Father Who still speaks to us. We have a Father Who embraces us, Who cares for us, Who knows our needs better than even we know them. He tells us to cast everything on Him. He promises He hears. He ensures His great purpose. Whatever you may be struggling with today, listen for His still small voice. Listen as He speaks to you. It’s going to be okay, my friends. Maybe it doesn’t look like it right now—but it will be okay.
“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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 [NASB]
“Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” – Colossians 2:7 [NLT]
The Psalmist described arriving at a safe house. He said God was a safe house, a sanctuary. He further said that when you arrive, you relax. You relax like you are at home. You feel safe. You feel peace. You are never sorry, NEVER SORRY that you knocked at His door, that you approached Him. You realize that “without (God), nothing makes sense” (Psalm 18:24 MSG). But with God you have all you need.
To be able to relax is a good feeling. Too often people are tense because of stressful situations or environments. People are worried about bills, dealing with family issues, trying to age slowly. People are always on guard, worried, looking over their shoulder. If you turn on the television or walk through any shopping center or mall, you will find many methods advertised for peace and relaxation. Drink this tea. Use this machine. Try this lotion. Get this organizer. Buy this home security system. But we can do all these things and more and yet still not relax.
The Psalmist understood that when you approach God, who already has His arms stretched towards you, it is then that you encounter the peace—the Prince of Peace. And when you encounter God and you accept Him into your life, you can kick off your shoes (no pun intended) and relax. I’m not saying life won’t be filled with trials and struggles, but that you’ll feel a peace you never felt before in life. As the Psalmist said, “You’re never sorry you knocked.”
“God’s a safe-house for the battered,
a sanctuary during bad times.
The moment you arrive, you relax;
you’re never sorry you knocked.”
-Psalm 9:9-10 [MSG]