These were Christ’s words to Phillip: “Don’t you know me . . . even after I have been among you such a long time?” (John 14:9)
Recently, after watching some news reports, these words came to mind and I had to stop and think: Do I really know and understand Who is with me? Do I understand the power of God that surrounds me and keeps me each day? If I did, there would be calm instead of feelings of anxiety.
Right now, the news is frightening! Thinking about social media outlets can be overwhelming. If my mind contained several colorful bowls, each one would be filled to the top and in some cases overflowing with too much information!
Emotional margin is something no one is talking about anymore. If they did, they would realize we are running right up to the edge. It is as if we are all on a collision course, and we just keep pushing down hard on the accelerator. Don’t do it!
When we feel threat of any kind, the first thing we want to do is either fight our way out or fly away from our circumstances. Rarely in times of deep anxiety, does someone say, “Let me stop and think rationally about this.” Instead of responding, we react, which is always a mistake.
Some people are strong and built to weather storms like the ones on our horizon and others are not! Anxiety, fear, and anger breed in isolation. So, think about the words you are using before you speak, and remember Satan’s goal is to take us out of the game. He doesn’t care how he does it. He doesn’t care if you are a child of God or a rogue player. He wants you out of life!
Phillip was right there with Jesus and had heard him say, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” But his mind was clouded by earth-bound feelings and thoughts. Do you understand where he was mentally? I do.
Then he asked the God of the universe to give him proof that He was who He said He was! “Show us the Father and that will be enough for us!” (vs 8) You may want God to show up right now like a mighty warrior, but we all need to realize that God has a plan, and He is working it out through our lives.
Faith in Christ was what Phillip needed to exercise. That would have brought a lot of calm to his heart.
The world in which Phillip lived was filled with spiritual darkness, trouble, anger, frustration and deep division. Sound familiar? How can I say this? History records it. It was not pleasant to live within the Roman Empire—and certainly not an easy thing for Christians, who often ended up as human torches at Roman garden parties.
Just like today, there were warring political parties along with various religious groups believing different things, and everyone was convinced to the death that he or she was right.
There was persecution—heavy persecution by the Romans—to keep order and to keep everyone in check.
Add to this mixture the fact that those who followed Christ were just as convinced that He would become a political King; and once he was on the throne, everything would change for the better. It didn’t happen, and it’s not going to happen today.
No human person can save you or me from the sin within our hearts. Only God through faith in His Son can do that. We were His goal for coming to earth.
Christ came to save the world from sin—not to conquer the world in a material way. Could He have done this? Absolutely! He created this world, and He also will end it.
God always has a plan in mind for the future—for suffering and disappointment of any kind. It always involves drawing us closer to Himself so that we become like Him.
We can pull strings and devise our own plans all we want; but in the end, God’s plan is at work in our hearts and lives and in the nations.
I believe God is asking each one of us: “Do you know me? Do you know who I am—the God of the universe come to earth in the flesh? The only God who loves you fully and completely?
If you really know who Jesus is, then you also will know the power that rests within Him—the power to bring calming strength, the power to heal, and the power to hope again.
So, what is your solution when you feel frightened or alone? Years ago, a young pastor told me there is only one way to fight my battles and that is on my knees in prayer. C.S. Lewis said, “Prayer does not change God; it changes me.”
It changes hearts beginning with yours. It changes your view of your circumstances, and it will lead you into a better understanding concerning God’s perfect will in dark times.
So, how are you fighting your battles today? With earthly tools and weapons? Those are laughable to an omniscient God. If you want to win the war within and out, begin on your knees in prayer. Pray.
God hears and He will answer in one of three ways: yes, no, or wait. And if the answer is wait, do it. Wait in faith, believing that the same God who was with Phillip is with you in your circumstances, right now.