By Brenda Black
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)
Humility is not only antithetical to arrogance. Humility is the opposite of self-reliance. I'm fairly certain that it is prideful independence which ushers in a whole lot of anxiety in my life. When I try to handle it in my own strength, with my own ideas, I tend to borrow a bushel of cares. Fear is one of the biggies in that basket I haul around on stooped shoulders of dread.
While some would say courage will conquer the fear, I have learned that surrender goes a long way. Letting it go and laying it down for the Lord to pick up is far less frightening. But it sure takes far more faith.
I was filled with apprehension one day last week. I wanted to crawl in a hole or run away and visualized a dozen other cowardly cliches. I wasn't facing a firing squad, just uncertainty and an uncomfortable situation. Suffice it to say, I thought opting for avoidance would be less painful than what I feared I would face that day.
Since I couldn't just quit life, I crawled in my car and drove toward the dreaded unknown. That's when the Lord took over and soothed the anxiety. While I wrestled with doubt and loathed my own weakness, God whispered words of strength and assurance. The radio played song after song that spoke of courage and Christian witness. I was reminded that it is never wrong to do the right thing and that God honors those who take the high road when they've been cut to the core.
By the time I had to face my fear, I was filled with peace. And I'm here to tell you, nothing that I had imagined happened. I fretted and created an entire event in my mind never realized. In fact, just the opposite took place when I surrendered my fear. I humbled myself under God's mighty hand. I did what was right. I trusted Him and He lifted me up in due time. I cast my anxiety on Him and He cared for me in amazing ways. Instead of being injured further, I was praised and encouraged and esteemed.
I knew I had done nothing deserving of mistreatment. But I also have lived long enough and dealt with enough people to know that is no guarantee you won't be harmed. To see the Lord so just in my behalf is overwhelming. He really cares! He really cares! My God is not so big and removed that He doesn't see pitiful worries in my little world. He really cares!
Without great detail, you may not be able to comprehend the sweeping relief I felt. You can't understand how incredible it feels for righteousness to win a round!
I determined I would return hatefulness with kindness. Proverbs 25:21-22 says, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”
Though I didn't wish for pain and suffering on my friend who was acting like an enemy, I did long to be a peacemaker and be counted among the sons of God. And I know that when I choose to live for Him, heavenly rewards are promised. (Matthew 5:9-12) What's super neat is when some little rewards come while we are still here on earth.
The ride home was much less stressful. My heart was free from fear. My mind relieved of worry. But, boy howdy was I thirsty! I pulled into Ruby Tuesdays to acquire one of their fabulous peach teas for the road. A handsome and cheerful young man offered a seat and I countered with my mission. “I just want a peach tea to go.” He returned with beloved beverage in hand and I pulled out my wallet to settle the account. With a big grin and sparkling eyes, that angelic man said to me, “Don't worry about it.” I questioned his intention, then quickly thanked him profusely and said, “God bless you!” exuberantly. “It's only tea,” he said when he turned to leave. But it wasn't just tea to me. I left feeling lighter and feeling loved. A tear rolled down my cheek and I smiled up at God.
Humble yourself that He may lift you up. What a sweet, peachy reward.