What would you guess might be the most popular Bible verse, according to YouVersion’s 400 million users?
Philippians 4:6 is the answer. The verse says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
What does its popularity say about us?
Volcano burns honeymooning couple
The day’s news seldom lacks for “anxious” headlines. For instance, a Virginia couple on their honeymoon in New Zealand were severely burned by the volcanic eruption on Monday that killed at least six people. Twenty-five people are currently hospitalized in critical condition.
A three-year-old boy whose mother was strolling him through a Manhattan crosswalk was struck and killed by a truck Monday, shortly after the two had finished eating breakfast at a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts. And six people were killed in a shootout in New Jersey yesterday, including a police officer, two suspects, and three civilians. The dead officer was Detective Joseph Seals, age forty, who was married with five children.
Tragedy makes the news daily, but we face more systemic issues as well. For example, a new study shows that death rates are increasing for middle-aged Americans of all racial and ethnic groups. Suicide, drug overdoses, and alcoholism are the main causes, but heart disease, stroke, and other medical conditions are contributors as well.
Clergy are certainly not immune. For instance, a mental health summit for pastors was held last Friday at Wheaton College. About four hundred ministry leaders filled a sold-out auditorium; the event was live-streamed to seventy-seven churches around the world. It responded to a recent report that about half of all Protestant pastors feel as though the demands of ministry are more than they can handle; 54 percent find their role to be frequently overwhelming.
US Catholic priests are likewise dealing with stress, burnout, depression, and substance abuse issues. An escalating shortage of priests is exacerbating demands on Catholic clergy as well.
“The Lord is at hand”
Where can we find peace in such perilous times? Yesterday, we discussed the urgency of seeking to live by the word of God. Today, we’ll focus on seeking the help of God to obey the word of God and experience the peace of God.
Like every word in God’s word, our favorite verse for the year has a context. In the Greek, Philippians 4:6 actually continues a sentence Paul began in the previous verse: “The Lord is at hand.” The phrase means that God “is present in this time and place.”
This restates Jesus’ promise, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20), as well as our Father’s assurance, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God” (Isaiah 41:10). As a result, Paul’s thought continues, we can choose to “not be anxious about anything.”
However, the fact of God’s empowering presence does not mean that we have no responsibility in advancing his kingdom.
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Source: Christian Headlines