Over the past four weeks we have been digging into Phil. 4: 4-8, learning, struggling, and joying in the process of understanding Paul’s commands and the experience of putting them into practice. (Before you proceed, re-read or recite Phil. 4: 4-8)
The following is a story Max Lucado shares regarding the experience of a member of his congregation.
In her short thirteen years Rebecca Taylor has endured more than fifty-five surgeries and medical procedures and approximately one thousand days in the hospital.
Christyn, Rebecca’s mom, talks about her daughter’s health complications with the ease of a surgeon. The vocabulary of most moms includes phrases such as “cafeteria food,” and “too much time on the phone.” Christyn knows this language, but she’s equally fluent in the vernacular of blood cells, stents, and, most recently, a hemorrhagic stroke.
In her blog, Christyn wrote:
This past week’s new land mine was the phrase “possible hemorrhagic stroke,” a phrase I heard dozens of times used by numerous physicians. Over and over and over that phrase filled my mind and consumed my thoughts. It was emotionally crippling.
This past Sunday our preacher, Max Lucado, started a very fitting series on anxiety. We reviewed the familiar Philippians 4:6 verse: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
I presented my requests to the Lord as I had so many times before, but this time, THIS time, I needed more. And so, using Philippians 4: 8 as a guide I found my answer:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true…” What was true in my life at this particular moment? The blessing of all family members eating dinner together.
“Whatever is noble.” The blessing of enjoying each other’s presence outside of a hospital room.
“Whatever is right.” The blessing of experiencing my two sons’ daily lives.
“Whatever is pure.” The blessing of all three children laughing and playing with each other.
“Whatever is lovely.” The blessing of watching Rebecca sleep peacefully in her bed at night.
“Whatever is admirable.” The blessing of an honourable team working tirelessly on Rebecca’s care.
“If anything is excellent.” The blessing of watching a miracle unfold.
“Or praiseworthy.” The blessing of worshipping a Lord who is worthy to be praised.
“Think about such things.”
I did. As I meditated on these things, I stopped the dreaded phrase “hemorrhagic stroke” from sucking any joy out of my life. Its power to produce anxiety was now rendered impotent. And when I dwelt on the bountiful blessings in my life happening AT THAT VERY MOMENT, “the peace of God which transcends all understanding,” DID guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus. A true, unexpected miracle. Thank you, Lord.
Anxious For Nothing – Max Lucado pg 119-120
May God encourage you with this story. But my prayer is also that God would give us the courage and strength to put these principles into practice in our own lives.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”