We are fast approaching the end of what has been quite an eventful year! Since the calendar turned to 2020 we have faced a constant barrage of challenges, and even over the last week we found ourselves in the midst of a lock down the likes of which one would not have thought would ever occur in South Australia.
This year has brought with it all manner of grief and loss. There have been many who have grieved the loss of a loved one. So many people have missed out on significant events like milestone birthday celebrations, or graduation services. School camps and trips have been cancelled. Weddings have been postponed or hurriedly pulled together. Travel plans have been thrown into chaos. Families have been separated interstate or overseas, elderly relatives have been forced to decline visitors. Church services have been cancelled and delivered online. The list goes on.
For many this is not a year to celebrate let alone one to choose to remember. Fear and anxiety has been an ever-present battle to subdue. And believe it or not Christmas is just around the corner and many are beginning to contemplate what Christmas and the ensuing holiday period will look like, in this COVID-aware world in which we now find ourselves.
All of this is undeniably true, the reality of such is right before us. Yet even so, in the thick of the heartache, in the middle of anxiety or fear we are reminded to come to Jesus and surrender our heart to Him. It requires of us faith to bring this burden, person, or issue to God, believing that He WILL move that mountain, that He IS able.
And in doing so it moves you from anger to surrender, heartache to hope, despair to promise. The scriptures are full of promise and encouragement, to surrender whatever is going on in our world to God above, coming to Him through Jesus His Son.
Matthew 11:28 says: Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us: Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
John 14:27 states: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
We read in 1 Peter 5:6-7: Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
I could keep on listing passages from the Bible that remind us that God is with us, that we can surrender all our burdens to Him. But far better than that is for you to spend time in the scriptures for yourself. Regardless of whether you are finding the current environment around us challenging or not, whether you feel anxious or calm, I challenge you to read through Matthew 6:25-34, Psalm 23, Romans 8:26-39. Add to this a prayer of surrender.
A simple prayer that author John Eldredge writes is this, ‘Dear God, I surrender everything and everyone to You.’
Try it. Sit in that space for a few moments. If you are still holding onto fear, anxiety, worry, whatever it may be, then perhaps you have not surrendered it to God. Pray it again. And again if necessary. The situation around us may remain unchanged, yet your spirit within can take comfort, hope and find joy in the knowledge that God is with us.
As we head towards the closing weeks of this year may you know that our prayers are with you. May you know the peace of Christ in your heart and mind. May you grasp opportunity to love others. May you fix your eyes on Jesus, walking in confidence that your steps are found in God’s loving embrace. And may these words from Romans lift your spirit within: I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13).
Grace and Peace,