Daily D – Philippians 4:6
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. PHILIPPIANS 4:6 (NLT)
The movie Adventures in Babysitting [https://bit.ly/36ruQLG]has a memorable scene where The Ice Man, Albert Collins, says, “Ain’t nobody gettin’ outta here without sangin’ the blues.” This is Philosophy 101. It may be Theology 101 as well.
This is not heaven, and many people appear determined to prevent it from becoming heaven on earth.
Everybody sings the blues, sometimes. Merle Haggard knew this truth and gave us words to express what our hearts feel on blue days.
Everybody sings the blues sometimes
And everybody knows the tune
And everybody knows the way I’m feelin’
‘Cause everybody’s had the blues.
Some of the Psalms would sound good set to The Ice Man’s guitar or in Haggard’s twang.
The blues and worries are often traveling companions. We get down and then worry we will never get up again. We worry about ourselves and about others. We need to talk but are afraid no one will understand.
Paul the Apostle was Paul the prisoner when he wrote Philippians. It is his most joyful expression. He could have sung the blues, and likely had a blue moment or two. Yet when he thought about his friends in Philippi and the grace of God on them and through them to him, how could he not experience joy.
A man in difficult circumstances wrote to a group of people who fully understood tough circumstances and told them to “Always be full of joy in the Lord,” (v. 4). Then he told them, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.”
Worry is anxiety turned inward. Prayer is concern turned toward God. Worry weighs us down. Prayer lifts us up.
“Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” The two parts of this sentence fit neatly together. First, we are directed to get specific with what we need. What do you need? How do you distinguish need from desire? Get as clear as possible.
Second, thank God for all he has done. This connects us to God’s faithfulness in the past. As he has always provided and always guided to this point and to this place, so he will continue guiding and providing as we follow him and depend on him. He has not changed his nature or character. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Because this is true, we can thank him in advance for what he is about to do.
Don’t worry about anything.
Pray about everything.
Tell God what you need.
Thank him for all he has done.
Follow this pattern every time you warm your voice to sing the blues. Enter his courts with your concerns. Exit with praise and thanksgiving. And peace. Do not forget perfect peace.
“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus,” (v. 7).
Once again, we experience the great exchange. We bring all of our baggage to God and he lightens our load by his grace, in his mercy, and for our good. Paul went on to say, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength,” (v. 13).
Joy, peace, and contentment can be ours as soon as we are ready to stop singing the blues and start praying instead. Let the blues function as a dashboard light warning us of a problem that instructs us to go to God who is the Ultimate Mechanic.
Songs sung blue are often truer than true.
Songs sung to You gain a brighter hue.
I will sing a new song after I pray.
Our Father, hard times come. Sometimes we are warned ahead of time. Sometimes we are surprised. Either way, they arrive unbidden, unwelcome, and untimely. We need your gracious provision to overcome them. We turn to you with our worries, fears, anxieties, and hurts. Please help us. Restore our joy. Renew our hope. Reveal your glory. We look forward to moving from downbeat blues to upbeat praise. Amen.
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Psalm 23:3, 4 He renews my life; he leads me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me. (CSB)
Daniel 5:11 “There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the days of your predecessor he was found to have insight, intelligence, and wisdom like that of the gods. Your predecessor, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, mediums, Chaldeans, and diviners. (CSB)
Daniel 1:20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding that the king consulted them about, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and mediums in his entire kingdom. (CSB)