Shift Your Weight of Worry
By Marlene Houk
Philippians 4:6-7 “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
My husband reached for our sleeping child, completely relaxed on my shoulder. Gently lifting the chunky thirteen-month-old weight from my sagging shoulders suddenly lifted me up. Instantly, I felt enough energy returning to settle my son for the night and finish small chores.
Relieving burdens. Shifting six bags of groceries to the kitchen counter. Carrying things to a moving van and hearing the satisfying clunk when they slide off our backs. Sensing a weightless surge of relief when we transfer our load to someone or something reminds me of spiritual truth in Philippians 4:6-7.
Adding thanksgiving to our requests results in peace that guards and keeps us. The spiritual effect of thanksgiving exhilarates the children of God. The encouragement phrase in these verses, “Be careful for nothing;” or, simply put, don’t worry about anything, opens the door to enjoying the use of prayer and supplication. But, like the armor described in Ephesians, prayer operates as the key to using the armor. Similarly, thanksgiving shifts our weight of worry to Jesus who longs to bear our burdens of life.
We often color our problems in life with emotions, honoring them with first place in our reactions. But this verse implies that we possess the privilege of lifting those emotions in our many requests to our God who hears His children at any time of the night or day. With a simple letter, s, He invites us to talk with Him about multiple troubles that plague us.
In the act of thanksgiving, Jesus gently untangles the limbs and body of the weight of our worry to Himself. Like a guaranteed inoculation against disease, the next verse injects our spirits with peace—protection against soul pain. Somehow, the simple act of adding thanksgiving to the voicing of our worries invites Jesus to rescue our sagging strength by exchanging His peace for our problems. What a relief that we can instantly discern the difference between the lonely responsibility of things we can’t change to the certain knowledge that our Savior can direct circumstances and change people to His will.
Thirty years later, I still feel the refreshing relief of my sleeping son’s heavyweight sliding from me as strong hands took care of him. My memories remind me that Christ’s command to simply add thankfulness to my requests during prayer adds the protection and power of peace to my daily life.
Marlene is an author and teacher of Bible studies. She may be reached at Bible167@gmail.com
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