Short daily devotionals for the socially distanced. These are thoughts from my daily time in the word. I use a bible reading plan that will have me in a different section of Scripture every day.
I hope they serve to give you courage and hope. You can subscribe to receive them as a daily email at the bottom of the page.
Thursday, April 16th
Reading: Isaiah 37-39
14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord.
— Is 37:14 (ESV)
I am prone to moments and indeed seasons of intense feelings of anxiety. I am not talking about a clinically diagnosed anxiety disorder (that ought to be assessed and treated where it persists and inhibits regular function), but rather just about my ordinary grade trying to rule the world and failing feelings of anxiety, stress and worry. It can be particularly pronounced when I sense a threat, real or imagined, which may be on the horizon of my life.
When something threatens the wellbeing of my family; when somebody threatens the reasonably good nature of my reputation; when somebody is a threat to the flourishing of the people I pastor; my heart rate increases, and my brain starts to imagine all of the scenarios where this could go, and it usually isn’t good. Just this morning, as I sat in my daily roundup of COVID-19 news from across the globe, I got an update on my retirement funding that was threatening to my soul. I know that something like retirement funding is a luxury that few enjoy – first world problems – I get it, but it is something that I have sown into for the wellbeing of my family, as best as I could see it, and now an outside threat has flattened much of that work and removed any of the false sense of security it provided. I am well aware that most others are experiencing a threat and indeed suffering from all of this that far surpasses any of my privileged whining, but, it makes me anxious to think about it, if I am honest.
But, in moments like this, I do actually have a choice. I can let this own me, or I can take it before the One who actually owns everything. I can let fear and anxiety spread over my life by focusing on it, or I could spread the threat out at the feet of my Lord and let Him deal with it.
Hezekiah took a threat, which was significantly more imminent, disastrous and real than anything I have experienced or am currently going through, and he spread it out before the Lord. That is a marvelous image of prayer, to spread it out before God as a sign of weakness and dependence and ask God to take care of it. We can fold it up tight and carry it around in our pockets and let it weigh us down and ultimately decay our peace, or we can spread it out, fold it flat, show it to God, and ask Him to help.
This is what Paul was speaking about in Philippians 4 when he said,
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
— Php 4:6–7 (ESV)
We can let anxiety spread over us, or we can spread our requests before the Lord.
I am off to spread a few things out at the feet of my King.
Courage, dear friends.