Paul Witkop is pastor of Light of the Desert Lutheran Church in Cave Creek.

the-way-to-find-peace
Photo by Kun Fotografi from Pexels

During our engagement, my wife and I hiked down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and then out with seven other friends. We carried backpacks, which had all our provisions for just three days. It’s amazing, however, how the ounces all add up to pounds. After our stay at Phantom Ranch, I was contemplating our hike out with these rather heavy packs knowing that gravity was not going to be working for us. So, like any newly engaged chivalrous man, I offered to carry some of what was in my fiancé’s pack to lighten her load. What a guy! We were all loaded up when I got the most amazing news that we had rented a donkey that was going to be able to carry out almost all of what we had packed. What a difference it made!

Our lightened load reminded me of something Jesus promises us.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-9).

Our normal tendency is to carry the burden ourselves and to worry. There is an illusion that I worry because I have these certain problems. If they were to go away, then I would not worry. But that is not so. We will always have problems and worry does nothing but work against us. The COVID-19 season has created so many more reasons why we could be overcome by worry. One day, all your problems will go away and that is the day you die. Problems and challenges are an opportunity for us to trust God more completely.

The Apostle Paul writes, “Don’t worry about anything but pray about everything…then you will have God’s peace” (Philippians 4:6).

God does bring answers. As we pray, sometimes, circumstances do change. More often, the answer to our prayer is that Jesus changes our mindset and allows us to gain a whole new perspective. We let Jesus carry the load. Our job is not even to try to make the anxious feelings go away...maybe they will or maybe they won’t. We can beat ourselves up trying. Our part is to pray and trust and listen to God.

Take time to listen. It is amazing how a new Christ-centered perspective, a word of wisdom from the Bible, and the encouragement of some faith-filled friends can bring a new hope-filled attitude and God’s peace.

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