My prayer list is substantial these days. The consistent rejection of Truth I see in society troubles me. The number of people willing to set their opinion above God’s Word, even among Christians, appears to be compounding by the day. Society is no longer shy about its quest to replace biblical values with man-made designs. The devil’s lies are blatant and numerous, and it seems pointless at times to try to swim against the current of moral decay when the force of the riptide feels so strong.
I’ll be honest; I am deeply concerned for my children’s future.
Then there’s the struggling marriages I’m praying for along with the aftershocks of a pandemic—the number of churches still not meeting, the rise of teen suicide, the fear of economic collapse—and if I didn’t know Jesus was in control, I’d be a hot mess. Still, there are days my mind is weighted with a thousand pounds of thoughts, and my heart is distraught.
But you know what? The uncertainties of today and tomorrow shouldn’t surprise me. Jesus told us it would be this way, stating in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (NIV).
In this crazy mixed-up sinful world, trouble is never far away; it’s as sure as the sunrise. Yet Jesus tells us to take heart because He has overcome the world. But how do we do that? How can we have peace when the uncertainty is so overwhelming? There is one sure-fire solution: we set our minds on the Word of God.
Remind Yourself of Truth
There is stability in Scripture because there is stability in God. He doesn’t change. He is who He is from past to present to future, making Him a rock of refuge for every moment. “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:2).
David knew where to run when doubt overwhelmed him he was gripped by fear—straight into the presence of the Lord. In 1 Samuel 30, David’s troubles were multiplying like mosquito bites at summer camp. He’s on the run from Saul. He’s living in Philistine territory. His town is scorched, and the Amalekites have captured David’s wives, along with the wives and children of David’s men. Everyone is so upset there is talk of stoning David. 1 Samuel 30:6 puts it this way: “David was greatly distressed.” Yeah, I would say so.
So what does David do? He does what we all should do when life is spiraling out of control. “David strengthened himself in the LORD his God” (v. 6). He found solace in the everlasting rock (Isa. 26:4). Instead of panicking, David remembered who his God was.
Psalm 42:5 says, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you.”
I remember you.
It’s the habit of the faithful to remember the Lord and what He has done and all He has promised when troubles arise. There is no better solution for a troubled heart than soaking the mind with Scripture. God always proves Himself faithful, but it’s tough to experience the Lord’s help when we insist on keeping our distance.
Raise Your Eyes to Heaven
Colossians 3:2 tells us to set our “minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” No matter our circumstances, we have much to look forward to and much to rejoice over in Christ. Paul says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).
Words cannot describe the brilliance of all that’s in store for those who are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16). “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. 5:1).
A day is coming when all our troubles will forever subside. Things may look bleak now, but we have an eternal hope we can confidently dwell on when life is a choppy sea. “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17).
It’s vital to remember that this life is not the end when our hearts are weighted by all the world’s troubles. There is a glorious future awaiting us in heaven.
Determine to Do the Will of God
Still, I realize it’s hard to see past specific trials. And for those moments, it gives me great comfort to know my Savior’s heart was once troubled as well. Before taking up the cross, Jesus said in John 12:27–28, “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.”
Note that Jesus didn’t deny how he felt, but He actually spoke it out loud. There is nothing wrong with admitting how we feel. What’s wrong is when we allow our feelings to dictate our obedience to God. Can you imagine if Jesus had paid more attention to His feelings than the Father? If that were the case, I have a “feeling” we wouldn’t be quite so hopeful today.
Society encourages us to continually evaluate our feelings and proceed accordingly, but there is no biblical basis for that road map. Emotions are good indicators of what’s bothering us, but they’re terrible tour guides, often leading us away from God.
Jesus determined first and foremost to give glory to God, even when His heart was troubled. And that is our goal as well. No matter how Jesus felt about things, He prioritized the will of the Father, praying in Gethsemane, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39).
Christ put His trust in the Father, and even though things got much worse, Christ knew God was in control, and His plan was for the best. If your heart is feeling troubled, run to the Father. Soak your mind in Scripture, set your eyes on Christ, and trust the Lord to do what’s best. This world is not the end, and God has a beautiful plan.