As we begin a new year, we need to realize that the world in which we live today is filled with fear and anxiety, with Armageddon-like exaggerations, with the collapse of so much of what we thought was our democratic system. There is no feeling of peace in this world. This is the atmosphere that surrounds us. And that begs the question of whether we will go with the flow of the fear and anxiety, whether we will continue hunkering down so that we can forget about all the pain this is causing in us or whether this notion will be true in each of us: we face the world, not with fear and trembling, but in the knowledge that God has us firmly in hand and we can peacefully face whatever is coming because we know that God is in charge.
As I travel in our country or just in my daily life what I see most often is people buried in their phones, almost as if our phones’ content can transport us out of the pain. Whatever we find in Messages or in Facebook or in Instagram and in thousands of sites cannot, it cannot save us from the way the world is. We can only forget the pain of the world for a short time and then we have to hide again and again. Our phones are only remote devices that protect us only for a while from life the way it is right now.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. Revelations 1:8
What we have forgotten from the times past before there was a portable forget-the-world device carried everywhere with us is this: that God takes care of us, walks with us, supports us, provides for us and that we find our well-being in Him and in the community of people who are dealing with the same things.
The challenge for us in these times is to draw closer to God, to depend on Him more than ever, to seek our respite in Him. From that reliance on God we can see more clearly what is true and right, we can face the truth of what is happening. We can see in this moment and the next what God is calling us to do right now.
Our best prayer for these times: “Anchor me, Lord, in you. May I see and feel the unbreakable ties between us. May I leave the fear behind and live in your presence always.”
“Anchor me, Lord, in you” could also be prayed throughout our days as we find ourselves slipping off into fear. It will pull us back on track.
Our best practice: putting away the phone and sitting in the presence of God in meditation, centering prayer, in deep stillness. As we practice this, we can begin to hear clearly what the Indwelling Spirit of God is saying to us right now. The other best practice is to study the Bible and to hear what the Lord is saying to us in what we read.
The opposite of fear is faith, but we also could define faith as not just belief in God but a conviction that we hold because we are able to be present to God in this moment and the next, the ability to be present to our own inner condition, to be present to another, be it our child or spouse or boss or a homeless person or a stranger–anyone. It is in resting in God’s presence throughout our days that we find our faith greatly deepened.
Let us begin this new year living in faith, in deep conviction, not in our phones. Living in faith we will find the courage to live in these upsetting times and to thrive under God’s guidance. And we will be a good example of an alternative, a positive alternative way of living through these difficult times.
Questions to ponder over the week: Am I living in fear or faith? Am I living in the way my mind works or am I listening to God today? Am I anchored in my faith in the Lord? What do I need to do to increase my faith? Can I cross over to a whole new way of being and thinking by placing my faith in God?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who live in faith in the providence, in the presence of God every day. May we live that faith in all that we do. May we be a beacon for others to adopt this same reliance on God in these troubling times.
On this page find the archives of the By the Waters blog going back to 2011.
My book, “Exodus: Our Story, Too!” is available on amazon.com under my full name, Patricia Said Adams. Read in there how your life can be transformed by encountering God in the wilderness.