By Alli Hill
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7
When was the last time you broke down and had a good old-fashioned, ugly cry? For me it was this past July. I was afraid my husband would think I had lost my mind, but I could not control the tears and blubbering words coming out of my mouth as I expressed my anxiety and uncertainty about the future. I had just found out we were expecting our fourth child and right around that time, I was also researching homeschooling curriculum for my oldest daughter, who just turned five. So many anxious thoughts were circling around in my head, and I felt completely paralyzed by them. Thankfully, my husband is godly, patient, and incredibly encouraging. After talking things through and praying together, I felt as if a huge burden had been lifted from my shoulders.
This event so clearly evidenced how easy it is for me to rely on my own strength and wisdom to get by in this life. As the pressures mounted in my mind, I began pulling away from the Lord instead of running to Him. Zoning out during my Bible reading time, limiting my prayers to short demands, and refusing to confess my sinful, anxious thoughts to my husband all contributed to this breaking point. Finally by voicing my fears and doubts to my husband and allowing him to speak the truth of God’s word over me, the Lord graciously lifted my burden away. That is not to say that each area of concern fixed itself in that moment, but the fear and anxiety I had kept inside was replaced with trust and assurance that the Lord would not leave me or forsake me.
I’ve often been struck by the commands in Scripture to not be anxious. Philippians 4:6-7 is one of the better known passages on this topic, which says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” In my anxious moments, my heart and my mind were unguarded and I felt anything but peaceful. As these verses testify, by praying to the Lord and giving my anxieties over to him, God’s perfect peace began to take over.
This theme is present throughout all of scripture, and I have especially noticed it recently in my One Year Chronological Bible reading plan. During the return of the exiles to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the walls around the city, the remnant of God’s people was met with fierce opposition. Things became so dangerous that Nehemiah led the people to do their work with one hand while holding a weapon in the other (Nehemiah 4:17). The Israelites were obediently rebuilding the walls of the City of David, and yet their enemies were actively seeking to destroy the work of their hands. I would imagine many of them felt very afraid and anxious. Yet their godly leader, Nehemiah encouraged them to not be afraid. How would that be possible? By remembering the Lord. Nehemiah said, “Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” (Nehemiah 4:14b)
Remembering the faithfulness of their mighty God and walking in strength and courage from Him, the Israelites miraculously completed their work in fifty-two short days. This accomplishment was so astonishing that Nehemiah 6:16 says, “When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.” I don’t think it is coincidental that revival broke out among the people of God in the following chapter when the Law of God was read by Ezra. After putting their trust in God, the Israelites became changed by the Word of God, and lived obediently and faithfully.
Remembering who our great God is strengthens and enables us to stand firm in this life. If it is simply up to me, I cannot do it. I will crumble under the load of anxiety every time. But by remembering my great Savior who is Lord of all and in control of all things, I can cast every anxiety on Him, knowing that He truly cares for me, His child. If you are walking through a season of anxiety and stress, I pray you will look to Christ. Link arms with other believers who will encourage you with the Word of God and pray for you during your struggle. Be filled with the peace of God that He promises to give His children. Cast your cares and concerns on the only One who is able to see you through.
Alli is married to Gentry Hill and they have three children, Hadley, Dempsey, and Emery. They live in Poteau, Oklahoma, where her husband serves as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church Poteau. Alli hopes to minister to other new moms while continuing to learn how to mother her children in a Christ-honoring way, all while being a keeper of her home. Alli enjoys hospitality, painting, home renovations, & all things domestic. She serves as managing editor for Missional Motherhood.