“The peace that surpasses everything… – Church of the Resurrection
Anxiety is now the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting more than 40 million people. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates that only 36.9% receive treatment and the consequences are immeasurable. Anxiety has become a silent bane and for many it is the gateway to unhealthy addictions and harmful behaviors. *
I have times of anxiety but nothing to do with certain people I know and love. It is amazing to think of Paul writing to the Philippians from a prison cell and urging them to don’t worry about anything. In verse 4 he tells us to Rejoice in the Lord always. I repeat: rejoice!
I admit that sounds like overkill. I’m not sure I would have any joy if I was in jail and maybe going to be executed. How do we find joy in the midst of all the stress and demands that we may experience?
My wife and I recently celebrated our 27e birthday! When we got married, we were part of Youth With A Mission, garnering our financial support and leading short-term mission teams. In the first year, we had very little money, were pregnant, and had lost a grandmother whom we loved dearly. It was an intense time and we both felt anxious and stressed.
One day a mutual friend came by and took us to dinner and see a movie. I remember we laughed until we cried! It was a special moment that kind of eased the pain of what we were going through. Now, I’m not saying that dinner and a movie can completely solve our anxiety. But I think friendship, laughing, sharing, and helping to carry each other’s burdens can help.
In John 14:27, Jesus proclaims: Peace I leave you; my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
I like that in some religious traditions sharing the peace of the Lord is part of every worship service. We tell each other a blessing and the truth. So today, I hope you know that Jesus and his peace are with you. The peace of the Lord be with you.
* Therapy, medication, and counseling can be life changing and important. For more information, visit www.cor.org/care.