“These are the times that try men’s souls.” — Thomas Paine, The Crisis

Anxiety. Worry. Concern. Fear.

All too often, these are the “norm” in times of crisis. Perhaps even worse, they are the norm in times of perceived crisis.

Regardless of whether you’re facing a very real and authentic crisis right now, we live in an environment in which the talk of financial difficulty and stress is all around us.  Terms like, “economic downturn,” “slowdown,” and, “recession,” can be found on the pages of nearly every newspaper and fill the teleprompters of the news media.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve let it affect me this year.  It “dawned” on me this morning that for some time now — days, possibly weeks or even months — there’s been an overarching sense of impending doom that has hovered over my mind and heart.

Why?  I’m not really sure.  But the notion that somehow everything could unravel and leave us (my family and me) “exposed to the elements” of financial disaster has somehow become a daily companion of mine.

It’s a subtle thing.  We’ve watched as a neighbor family packed up all of their stuff and moved out of their house, turning it over to the bank with no warning. We’ve seen other homes in our community go into foreclosure. We hear stories of industries that are suffering and men and women who go scrambling to find work.  Initially, it never even crossed my mind that we could be affected by it.  But somewhere along the way a creeping fear made its way into my mind.  Had it shown up all in one day, I’d have recognized that it wasn’t from me and wouldn’t have tolerated it.  But, like the proverbial frog in the kettle, my thought life has gradually accepted this growing anxiety.

It occurred to me that this was the case today when I read these words:

“The reverent, worshipful fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it rests satisfied; he cannot be visited with [actual] evil.” (Proverbs 19:23 AMP)

Reading, “…he who has it rests satisfied,” I felt like a drop of cool water had landed on my parched tongue.

“Resting” and “satisfied” both seemed so far from my current reality that it really made me stop and think.  I’ve re-read this verse any number of times since then, and I’ve decided that it’s time to calm the inner storm. When the disciples awakened Jesus in the boat during the raging storm, he let everyone know — including the natural environment — what He was going to tolerate.

Since He’s not here (at least in the physical sense), it must be my job (like the disciples whom He rebuked — apparently for not taking charge of the situation themselves) to deal with this storm.  And so, that’s exactly what I’ve done.  And you can, too.

More on this next time…

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