Part 1 of 2
As time rolls on over the last two weeks, it’s increasingly apparent that anxiety, fear, worry, and doubt about the future are sinking deeper and deeper into people’s hearts. As a christian counselor, I find myself concerned for those who may already be prone to feeling anxious, even when there isn’t a disease circulating in our community.
One of the core threads that makes anxiety function is its capacity to overtake our thoughts, and consume the meditations of our heart. Instead of being able to consider that which is good, wholesome, upright, and even holy, righteous, and altogether perfect; we are given over to darkness, loneliness, fear, isolation, doubt and even contemplations of suicide as a way to manage these powerful forces in our hearts.
A NEW WAY TO THINK
In light of this, I felt it might be helpful to discuss eight things (four now and four later) for individuals to meditate on during COVID-19. The point of this exercise to make a conscious effort to fight back and push against the anxieties that we tend to be consumed by, and replace those anxious thoughts with thoughts rooted in everlasting truth, established by the power of God, offering hope and help for our most difficult moments, so we are ultimately found in Christ.
MEDITATE ON THE SPLENDOR OF GOD’S MAJESTY
Psalm 145:5 – On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and your wondrous works, I will meditate.Tweet
This verse contains a deep thought: the glorious splendor of God’s majesty. Each of these terms deserves it’s own blog/article. For the sake of simplicity here, the glorious splendor is the adjective for the majesty of God. The majesty of God denotes many things but most succinctly: an imposing form and appearance. That is to say – he is so beautiful, so lofty, so great, so good and so worthy of honor and praise, that this majestic-ness of God imposes itself on the mind as we meditate.
Thus, when you mediate on the glorious splendor of God’s majesty, all anxious thoughts are gone. That which imposed itself on your heart is overcome by something greater and more powerful: the glorious splendor of God’s majesty.
MEDITATE ON THE MIGHTY DEEDS OF GOD
Psalm 77:12 – I will ponder all your work and meditate on your mighty deeds.Tweet
At the time of this writing, Asaph was familiar with the story line of God’s people. He was highly acquainted with call of Abraham, Issac, Jacob and Joseph. He knew about the 400 years of slavery in Egypt. He could recite the stories of the forty years of wondering. He memorized the judgments of God’s people; the appointment of the prophets and was living during the reign of the greatest king Israel has ever seen prior to Jesus.
For us, the story line includes the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the greatest work and the mightiest deed of God on high. Ponder today the fact that the greatest work of God was the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Let this sink in as you struggle with fears of the future, and any uncertainty about your own resurrection. Because this mighty deed is true, that Jesus actually rose from the dead, then for those who are in Christ have a promise of life after with Jesus.
MEDITATE ON THE WAY OF GOD’S PRECEPTS
Psalm 119:27 – Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works.Tweet
What do you notice about David’s petition here…”make me understand…” This is a firm and sobering reminder that apart from God’s intervention in assisting us weak creatures to comprehend the requirements of God, we will not only be lost and continue in our sin, but we will lose out on being captivated by God’s wondrous work. We already denoted the greatest of God’s work, the life, death and resurrection of Christ, thus it is fitting that we be made to believe this.
But a precept is a commandment and as we believe the gospel narrative of Jesus Christ, we notice that Jesus didn’t need to be made to obey much less believe or understand the commandments of his Father. Rather, we see the correlation between that which God commands (his precepts) and the work that is produced out of obedience to those commands. The pinnacle of this is Jesus’ life – the gospel narrative.
Yet, here, David prays to be made to understand the way of [God’s] precepts. What is the way of precepts? Quite simply, as a road map describes what is the way to my earthly home; the way of God’s precepts describes the way to Christ. As we understand more and more of the way of the precepts of God, we can’t but meditate on the life, death and resurrection of Christ.
As that which is made to be understood, all that which is predisposed in us toward unbelief (anxiety, fear, doubt, worry) is more and dislodged out of our heart. May that be true of us.
MEDITATE ON THE PROMISES OF GOD
Psalm 119:148 – My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.Tweet
I happen to have a very stressful 9-to-5 job. It is not uncommon that I ‘take my work home with me’, and even go to bed preoccupied with anxious thoughts about the day, or a specific case, etc. Sometimes, these anxious thoughts can keep me up at night, leaving me brewing all alone.
Oh, how I need the Lord Jesus Christ ever more and more when the needs and the burdens of an anxious world crowd my heart, and vie for attention. May we be like David where we are brought to this occasion to meditate not on the things that provoke anxiety; rather, on the things that cure anxiety: the promises of God.
What are the promises of God? There are many. Is there one that stands out to you the most? In times like this and in times past when the circumstances of the day and the flesh-part of my heart call for anxiety, by God’s mercy I am brought to remember the promise of God’s ever presence with me when my soul is vexed and my flesh is dried up.
Psalm 34:18 – The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.Tweet
This verse has been a balm for my soul many times when facing severe trail and hardship. Like today, and for those afraid of COVID-19, or perhaps those who’ve lost a loved either by suicide or because the disease claimed their life, He is near the broken and crushed, “this is a promise of God purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ.” (Shai Linne, Lyrical Theology Pt. 2: Doxology)
I pray you find some encouragement on these four meditation points, and may they prompt you to look to Him more and more. As this happens, may the anxieties, fear, doubts and burdensome worry of COVID-19, and what it might bring, get ever consumed by the truth, power and authority of the word of God.
Stay tuned for the next four meditation points: 5. All that God has done; 6. The call of God in Christ; 7. We will live even when we die; 8. God himself.