Today in the United States we celebrate Independence Day, but to be honest, I’m not in much of a celebratory mood. That’s because as we all turned the pages of our calendars a couple of days ago to discover a brand-new month, we found instead another C-word dominating the news—Covid-19.
Indeed, as I turned the pages of the Houston Chronicle reporting the highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases for Texas to date with more than 7,915 new cases, I woke up not only to a city and nation on high alert, but also of high anxiety. Even today, those are no longer “just numbers”, but names, because two of my personal friends announced they, too, are now infected with the virus. Happy July!
And if you are like me on this “Inter-dependence Day”, you are anxious in your body, mind, and soul. Anxious for ourselves. Anxious for our spouses. Anxious about our health, especially our mental health. Anxious about our children and their education. Anxious for our parents and grandparents. Anxious for our friends, neighbors, and all whom we love. Anxious for our city, state, country, even the world. Anxious about our jobs (or lack of jobs), careers, and economic uncertainty. Anxious about all the knowns and unknowns of our lives. Anxious for the social unrest in our country. Anxious for our churches. Anxious about the upcoming elections. Anxious about the “second wave”. Anxious about yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And yes, anxious for the staff, board members, volunteers, and all the homeless friends we serve at Hope Center Houston. In other words, we are anxious about everything!
How radical, counter-intuitive, even paradoxical then is the admonition we read in the Bible through the words of the Apostle Paul writing from his prison cell: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6). In other words, our way is to “be anxious for everything”, but God’s way is to “be anxious for nothing.” I know, easier said than done. But Paul’s advice from prison and God’s prescription for all our angst is also found in that same verse—prayer…with thanksgiving. (Yes, despite all our maladies we have much to be thankful for.)
Truth is, in these hyper-anxious days, we all are seeking peace—peace of mind, peace for our families, peace in our country, peace for the world. Why not join me in praying for that peace that can only come from the Prince of Peace? Instead of being anxious about everything, let’s try our hardest to be like Paul. Be anxious for nothing.
Photo Credit: Special thanks to Edwin Hooper for kind permission to use his photograph for this post.