College starts back up for me in 5 days. And I’m starting to get a little anxious. Will I be able to stay on top of the homework for four classes while working close to 30 hours a week? Will I be able to maintain my 4.0 GPA? Will my plan of when I’m going to finish school and which classes I’ll take each semester get messed up because I end up having to drop a class?
It’s moments like these when I start feeling myself getting stressed out that I read Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Matthew Henry says, ” There is a care of diligence which is our duty, and consists in a wise forecast and due concern; but there is a care of diffidence and distrust which is our sin and folly, and which only perplexes and distracts the mind.” It would be foolish not to be cautious or safe in our day to day life but when that care turns into anxiety, it becomes sin. According to Henry, it “distracts the mind” which is so true. When I’m worrying, I’m not praying. I’m not thinking about God. I’m thinking about myself. What might go wrong.
Anxiety is sin. I often don’t think about that. I get stressed out about life and don’t even realize I’m stressed until I’m lying in bed at 2 in the morning wide awake and worrying. Anxiety is a lack of trust in God. We only begin worrying about school or finances or grades or health problems when we stop trusting that God has it all under control.
Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” My peace won’t come from my grades or my savings account, from work or school. My peace won’t even come from my relationships.
Matthew Henry goes on to say: “The peace of God [is] the comfortable sense of our reconciliation to God and interest in his favour, and the hope of the heavenly blessedness, and enjoyment of God hereafter.” Peace comes from God. It’s not something that can be fully experienced without Him. As Jesus says in John 14:27, He gives a peace unlike what the world gives. Because what the world gives isn’t true peace. It won’t last.
But God’s peace will. In the midst of homework and tests and even finals. God’s peace will last if I fail a test or lower my GPA. God’s peace will last when my textbooks end up being 5x more expensive than I expected. God’s peace will last when one of my professors won’t email me back about an assignment question. His peace isn’t dependent on my circumstances.