5–11 October 2014.

Philippians 4:6–7.

This week’s reading comes from Philippians 4:6–7: “Do not worry 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.”

Last summer, when my family and I were cooling off at the swimming pool, I tried to teach my young son how to float on top of the water. He lay flat on the surface of the water with his arms and legs stretched out straight, and I told him just to relax as I supported him very gently from underneath. Then slowly, slowly I would take my hands away and leave him trying to float on the surface by himself. But each time I would take my hands away he would stiffen up, panic a little, and then try to lift his head higher out of the water, and this would just make him sink even quicker. I would then grab him, lift him up out of the water and get him to relax and try again.

But it’s so hard for us to relax and let go of control. I think the older we get, the harder it gets. After all, our whole lives we have been learning how to be responsible, how to plan things in advance, how to be in control of the things around us. For us, being in control, being independent is what it means to be a mature adult. But there are so many things in life we simply can’t control, no matter how hard we try, and that leads us to worry, to be anxious, frightened, and even to feel trapped in life.

So here Paul encourages us to do something that seems absolutely unimaginable: not to worry! Not to worry, is that even possible? Paul gives us one method to practice: In all the daily challenges we face, regardless of how big or small they may be, bring those worrisome things to God in prayer, practice handing them over to God in thanksgiving, being thankful because we know God is there to look out for us. If we can practice this, if we can manage this, to let go, to stretch out and allow God to support us, then the result is amazing: an incredible peace as we float gently along, carried along by God’s love.

Pastor Stephen Lakkis