Losing sight

I TURN to Paul's letter to the Philippians during the hard times. Every time I read Paul's encouragement to the persecuted church at the time—"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4)—I'm reminded of my shortsightedness, of how little I think of God and what He can do to rescue me from my situation. That almost always brings me to my knees in asking Him for forgiveness.

I've not been feeling particularly well these past days. Many problems came up. I became anxious, worried, and helpless, so much so that I felt I was losing control of things. I became so caught up with my problems that I lost sleep and appetite. Has that ever happened to you?

During my quiet moments I pleaded the Lord for help, but it took me a long time before I realized I was looking at things with a wrong perspective. When I should have surrendered all my cares to God, I carried them with a heavy load. When I should have rested on His promises "that all things work together" for His children (Romans 8:28), I wallowed in fear for what might happen. Why didn't I take to heart these precious lines from the hymn, I Surrender All, "All to Jesus, I surrender / All to Him I freely give / I will ever love and trust Him / In His presence daily live"?

O, dear Savior, forgive me for losing sight of You.

God knocked some sense into me, and I found myself coming back to my old, tattered study Bible. I turned to Philippians, and Paul's words in the following passage convicted me:

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hears and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-8)

That led me to ask if I've been praying as I ought to. Sure, I've been having my quiet times almost every day, but did I derive instruction, joy, and comfort from my study of His Word? Did I really entrust all my cares upon God? It occurred to me that these past days, I've taken my morning devotions in drudgery, reading a verse or two, muttering a hurried prayer, then moving on to checking my email.

I was also thinking about the wrong things when I should have filled my mind with His instruction. After all, godly thinking leads to godly living. I guess I've been filling my mind with empty, senseless things. Paul continued:

"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things." (Philippians 4:8)

Praise God for His living Word! It's a refreshment to my tired and weary soul. It directs my perspective and helps me see the world from God's point of view, similar to what eyeglasses do to the nearsighted.

"Why are you downcast, O my soul? / And why are you disquieted within me? /
Hope in God, / For I shall yet praise Him, / The help of my countenance and my God." (Psalm 42:11)

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