Yesterday (Sunday), the sermon I heard at my church service had to do with anxiety. The fear and worry that often arises when we are faced with difficult and unpleasant issues, problems, and concerns in our lives. The Biblical recommendation was to listen to God’s will as to how to deal with anxiety and then turn the anxiety over to God. Then hope that God would give me everything I need to do my part in dealing with the issue at hand. That recommendation was similar to the theme of our Today’s Enlightenment blog. If you are hoping for something, and it is in accordance with God’s will, then God will fulfill your hopes, in God’s time and God’s way.
I remembered some of the big anxiety producing issues I had faced in my life. Some of them I had written about in my book (mentioned at the end of today’s blog) Hopes Fulfilled. When I placed my hopes for positive resolutions of those troubles (financial debt, unemployment, health, etc.) in God’ hands, God fulfilled those hopes, not always as I expected, but in God’s time and God’s way. By the grace of God, I have learned how to deal with those big problems, troubles, and issues of life, without experiencing anxiety.
However, I have noticed that since I’ve been retired, I tend to experience some anxiety over some small things in my life. Maybe that’s because I’ve been thinking that God isn’t concerned about those small thing in life. But I am now discovering that God cares about the small things in life, and there is reason to hope. Here’s an example.
About a month ago my wife Joan received a notice from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission(MVC) that her handicapped parking placard would expire at the end of February. To get a new one we had to fill out a form, have our doctor fill out a form, and take those papers, with a statement from our doctor, to the MVC office, which was not far from our home. So far, so good. But then the anxiety started to set in. It seems that the MVC had a bad reputation concerning customer service. And there were times when I experience that in the past. Didn’t have the right papers. Or the papers weren’t filled out right. Earlier in 2015 they lost our original marriage certificate. Fortunately we had a certified copy in our safe deposit box. In any case, I began to dread going to the MVC. I was sure they would find something wrong with our papers. Or we’d have to come back in two weeks to pick up the new placard.
So I kept postponing the dreaded visit to the MVC. Finally, we could delay no longer. And so we went to the reception window and were referred to window 6. Good. Before I got to window 6 a man stopped me and, noticing that Joan was handicapped, asked me if I was there for a new placard. I said yes. He said that I should have Joan sit in the waiting area and I could take the papers to window 6. Again, good. At window six there was one person being waited on and I was next in line. No waiting. Also good. It was now my turn to be served. A very pleasant, friendly young woman greeted me, took our papers, prepared a new placard, and assured me that everything was okay. I thanked her profusely. From the time I walked into the office until we departed took no more that ten minutes. In 50 years of doing business with the MVC, this was the best. It was even enjoyable. Not one moment of anxiety. I thanked God that my hope for a bearable visit was more than fulfilled.
Two other examples happened just this morning. I won’t go into the details, except that on this past Saturday I received letter from two organizations, which immediately gave me some anxiety. Basically it amounted to some changes these organizations were making, which would apply to us. One had to do with the retirement of our family doctor. The other had to do with a change in the organization’s billing system for purchases via the internet. In both situations I had questions and a need for clarification. My past experience with similar situations was that it had been difficult to get clear answers to my concerns and questions from the customer service representatives. Nevertheless, I decided to contact them by phone for the information I needed. So I immediately phoned them, only to be advised that they were closed and I should call back on Monday. Already the anxiety began to set in. I vowed that I would make the calls on Monday morning, and expect the worst. So I made the calls. Once again it turned out that my past experiences were not repeated. Instead, in both cases, I was able to speak with very pleasant, patient and helpful customer service people. Everything I requested or asked about was promptly answered. My anxiety faded away. I again thanked God for fulfilling my hopes for clear and helpful responses to my questions and concerns.
My expectation is that as the new year goes by, there will be a good number of big and small issues and problems of life that will confront me. But instead of letting anxiety come over me, I will just pray and expect that I will seek God’s will fulfill my hopes concerning whatever it is that I will have to deal with, big or small. There will be good news in the midst of bad news Hope where there seems to be only hopelessness. And if it turns out that anxiety rears its ugly head, rather than let it negatively affect my days and nights, I’ll just turn all that over to God
Grace and peace, Ray
Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.
Patty Perez and Ray Gough
We also invite you to view our other web-site Ray of Hope Ministries On-Line Bible Study www.rohmbible.wordpress.com
We have also published the book shown below in the form of an e–book. We invite you to read, copy, or down-load it free at this web-site:
A Spiritual Autobiography
How God fulfilled the faith-based hopes
of an ordinary guy from Jersey City