Archbishop François Fénelon (1651-1725) felt that although the war was over and people had gone back to living a peaceful life, because of what happened and its debilitating effect, there were still many who became anxious at the slightest sign of stress caused by their fear of the unknown. So, the good Bishop offered the following advice:

Do not let your natural anxiety consume you because of minor, annoying, imaginary problems all around you. You cannot pray too much when trying to calm your fears. When you frequently seek God for help, the more you will feel His presence throughout the day. A Christian growing anxious over things that have not yet happened will awaken to the sense of God’s presence amid such a crisis.  They are like a child whose mother sees them suddenly lose their temper because they didn’t get their way. When reality hits them, they feel embarrassed that they acted that way.

We should be more concerned about not inventing troubles that don’t exist and concentrate on peacefully fulfilling all our duties and obligations as well as we can. Let your inward fears and anxiety be absorbed by the One who lives in you. Jesus is the only one worthy of our attention. Whenever we become conscious of the impulse to worry over something we don’t know whether it is real or imagined, we must throw them aside so that His grace may possess us completely. It is well to stop when we find our tendency for becoming anxious getting the upper hand. Such faithfulness to grace is beneficial to the body as well as the soul! We are not guilty of neglect of duty; we’ve done our best.  Yet, like Martha when Jesus visited her and Mary after Lazarus’ death, she was more worried about preparing a meal than dealing with her grief.[1] [2]

The Apostle Paul said it very well: Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds.[3] And the Apostle Peter believed the same way when he said, “Give all your anxiety to Him because He cares for you.”[4] So, it’s your choice; you can be like Martha, all worried over something unattached to her situation, or like her sister Mary, who knew that taking time with Jesus would help her cope with her fears, worries, and anxiety.

[1] John 11:3-27

[2] Fénelon, François: Paraclete Giants, The Complete Fénelon, Translated and Edited by Robert J. Edmonson, Paraclete Press, Brewster, Massachusetts, 2008, p. 27; Vocabulary redacted by Dr. Robert R Seyda.

[3] Philippians 4:6-7

[4] 1 Peter 5:7

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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