Reflecting on Phil.4: 4-7
My Olympic sport is worrying. I’m the best who ever played the game. What makes me particularly versatile is that, the very second one worry is resolved, I can leap immediately to the next one, and the next one. It’s an arrogant way to live, if you think about it.
I never stop to give thanks when the first worry turns up solved. I call up the next one in the queue and begin massaging it, marinating it, simmering it over an endlessly warm burner. I look at every possible way things can go fatally awry. I’m pretty sure it’s up to me to keep the planets in their fixed orbits. When turbulence bounces the plane around I think I need to get up there and take over.
Have no anxiety about anything, says Paul. Easy for him to say? Well, let’s see. Prior to his imprisonment in Rome (the location of this letter, probably around the year 62), Paul had been shipwrecked, snake-bit, stoned with rocks, and left to languish in prisons in Caesarea and Ephesus. Then, the grossly unstable Emperor Nero of Rome started his persecution of the early church two years after Paul was imprisoned there.
One day—or was it night?—the Roman guards took Paul from his cell, and led him to the beheading block. Had he trembled in fear of this moment? Had he worried it to death all the years before it happened?
We know this: while in chains in Rome, St. Paul exhorted us to pray, and offer thanks, and tell God what we need. And then, he promised, the peace of Christ will guard us. I’ll bet it guarded him.
How is anxiety stealing my peace?
Kathy McGovern ©2018