“You keep her in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because she trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock.”
God’s faithfulness is the whole reason we have to hope–and isn’t that enough?
I was 37 weeks pregnant when we packed everything we owned into a moving truck. I followed my husband from Virginia to Pennsylvania, squished behind the wheel of our Toyota Solara. Five days later, in a house still barely unpacked, I gave birth to our first daughter.
I was seven months pregnant, two years later, when my husband pulled into our driveway at 10 AM on a workday. He had been let go from his job.
I was six months pregnant, two years after that, when a toxic work environment forced Josh to resign from a job he loved. We became self-employed overnight, lost our health insurance, and entered an entirely new season co-working and homeschooling together.
Add onto each season a pregnancy-induced autoimmune disease and you have a recipe for acute anxiety. By my third pregnancy, I was hardly surprised that a life-altering circumstance confronted us. But that didn’t make things any easier. I wanted to trust God, but the sheer volume of difficulty, transition, and fear made this trust evasive and hard to grasp. How could I find peace when pregnancy, for me, was marred by the unexpected?
A Certain Brand of Courage
A dove in the cleft of a rock: When anxiety chokes my soul, this image comes to mind. I first saw the painting Peace in the Midst of the Storm years before my pregnancies. It’s a picture of a mountain river, tumultuous and wild, crashing through the brush, and rushing over stones. Lightning flashes in the distance and wind rips leaves off the trees. At the heart of the mountain, so small you can barely spot her, rests a dove on her nest. As the water falls around her, she remains safe and quiet, undisturbed by the storm.
Before that painting, I saw peace as a quiet meadow, a gentle stream, the perfect circumstances for rest. But this painting changed my view. Peace is possible in the midst of the storm. Peace is possible even when life throws curveball after curveball. Peace is possible not because we have the life our minds pictured, but because of where our minds are stayed.
Some versions of Isaiah 26 say, “fixed” instead of “stayed”. We have a choice in where we fix our minds – the things on which we pin our thoughts. Do your thoughts continually circle back to the same things, over and over again? Are those things “true, noble, right, pure” (Phil.4:8)? Concern for our circumstances comes naturally. We can let that concern dictate where our minds remain, or we can fix our minds on things above, where Christ is (Col. 3:1).
God’s trustworthiness is the strength behind our battle against anxiety. Every weapon we use against anxiety must start with who He is because only then do we invite an objective perspective and power into our circumstances. Practically, this requires preaching truth over our anxiety. Think about it: How can we trust Him with our eternal destiny and not trust Him with our present fear?
Anxiety affects us emotionally, physically, and spiritually. While we take measures for the physical effects of anxiety, we must never stop fighting spiritually as well. It is a daily practice, choosing faith. We make the choice to trust God because we know who He is: Almighty, sovereign, kind, merciful, gracious, and just. Trust is not an abstract hope, unfounded, and errant; it is rooted in the Person of God Himself.
We trust because we know Him and because we know Him, we trust.
Our feelings may not change immediately. Sometimes they won’t change at all. Choosing faith in the face of fear is a certain brand of courage; remembering God’s faithfulness is a kind of warfare. We fight back with the knowledge of God.
Those trials during my pregnancies revealed God’s faithfulness to me. Today, I look back on what God did as the basis for His present redemption. I’ve seen Him save me before; I know He can save again. God’s past faithfulness is my present hope, and His promise is for all those who call upon His name.
In Your Word
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power, love, and self-control.”
2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”
In Your Life
What do you find your thoughts fixed upon? What attribute of God can you focus on instead?
Make a list of verses about God’s faithfulness and keep them on a note on your phone, or in a flipbook in your purse.
Stop Calling Me Beautiful: Finding Soul Deep Strength in a Skin-Deep World by Phylicia Masonheimer
Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow