This Tuesday was a very stressful day for our family. Our special needs son David was having problems that appeared frightfully like what happened to him last summer during Hurricane Harvey.
First, on Sunday we noticed his tube feedings were leaving large residuals – undigested formula in his stomach – forcing us to either delay or totally skip feedings. This was also our first sign last August that David was getting sick.
Next, Monday afternoon we noticed some mild congestion, which could easily be cleared away with suctioning. But Tuesday morning this was no longer true. The congestion was much worse, it was causing David’s oxygen saturation levels to drop dangerously low, and while extensive suctioning by David’s nurses would get him clear for a short time, a few minutes later the congestion would be back.
This was beginning to look like a repeat of last summer, when David was so ill that we were in a major battle to save his life.
The world doesn’t give us any real, lasting solutions to the major stresses and strains of life, like those I have walked through this week. But God’s Word does. One of my favorite Scriptures on the subject:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
These verses give us two keys to turning anxiety (and the fear often associated with it) into peace.
- Prayer and petition, presenting our requests to God.
- Giving thanks to God in the midst of the difficult situation.
Notice, prayer isn’t presenting our DEMANDS to God. True prayer is an act of humbling ourselves before the Lord, recognizing our own weakness in the situation and inability to do anything to change it, and turning to God for help. He truly is bigger than even the biggest problem we might be facing.
My time of prayer included honestly sharing my fears with God but also reminding myself of the character of God, of His love and compassion, His power and strength to work in what we were facing for our good and His glory. No, my emotions didn’t immediately change, but I had an inner confidence that God was at work.
My time of thanksgiving – which actually wasn’t one time but several times throughout the day – was marked by focusing on how this situation was different from what we went through last August and how God was working to help us.
First, I thanked God that we were not in the middle of a major hurricane and cut off from medical help. That the two nurses most skilled in David’s medical care were on duty, helping us through this challenging day. That we had an army of prayer warriors supporting us in this battle, both locally and online.
And when we learned that David’s doctor wanted him to be taken to a certain hospital emergency room, one that the ambulance drivers would not be legally able to go to if his condition worsened during transport because it wasn’t the closest facility, I prayed for God to make a way for him to get where we had been told to take him and thanked Him when He did. These are just a few of the things I brought to God through prayer with thanksgiving in the midst of the day.
With access to God’s Word and prayer, we are not powerless when stressful situations touch our lives. We are not left to our own resources. The resources of the God of the universe are available to us. But we must be purposeful in taking hold of the resources He has provided. Honest, humble prayer and giving thanks to God in the midst of the fear and uncertainty are two keys the Lord has given us to open the door to perfect peace.
Today (Wednesday), I’m walking in God’s peace, even though yesterday’s trip to the ER confirmed our son David does have pneumonia. Today I’m giving thanks that we learned what was going on while the pneumonia was still relatively mild, that the ER doctor gave David one dose of IV antibiotics to begin treating the illness and prescribed oral antibiotics to continue treatment, and that he decided home treatment by the people who best know our son was the best option. The battle still isn’t over, but we are already seeing some improvement. And today God brought a couple familiar verses to mind, verses I have been holding onto, lifting up to God in prayer, and thanking Him for.
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14 NIV
Are you currently facing a stressful circumstance? If so, try using these two keys of heartfelt, trusting prayer and giving thanks to God in the midst of the situation to open the door to PERFECT PEACE today. Even if your situation doesn’t immediately change, the gift of God’s peace will strengthen you to keep moving forward.