God wants you to live in a place where your heart has unshakable security and tranquility. The Hebrew word is shalom, and the Bible gives us a “Shalom Cycle” that keeps us centered and grounded in God’s peace.
But the Shalom Cycle begins to break down when…
- …gratitude is replaced by grumbling
- …trust in God’s future grace is replaced by unbelief
- …taking our worries to God is replaced by self-reliance
Anxiety causes our mind to race through all sorts of “what if” scenarios. My friend Josh Schram points out, “There are no benefits at all to having anxieties!”
The disciples of Jesus were in an anxiety-producing situation—they were in a boat going through stormy seas. Jesus was in the boat with them, but He was sound asleep. Instead of going to Jesus with their worries, the disciples tried to get themselves out of the situation. As they did, the “what ifs” began to mount.
What if the boat sinks … What if we get smashed on the rocks … What if not everyone can swim … What if (gasp!) Jesus doesn’t make it out alive … What if … What if… WHAT IF?!?
Until finally they screamed at Jesus, “Don’t You even care?!”
Sadly, their last thought was to go to Jesus, instead of making Him their first thought.
But Jesus cared more than they knew. Years later, Peter—who was in this storm-tossed boat—wrote, “Casting all your cares—all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all—on Him, for He cares about you with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully (1 Peter 5:7).
Not—only your big concerns.
Not—most of your concerns.
But—ALL of your concerns; every single thing that robs you of even a moment’s peace.
“Jesus, do You even care?” And Jesus responds with a loving, resounding, “YES! I care about every single thing that causes you anxiety, and worry, and care. Give them all to Me!”
Paul wrote, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6).
If we allow the Shalom Cycle to break down, the inevitable result in the exact opposite: The Distress Cycle—
The arrows are going the wrong way, and we’re being pulled farther and farther down. We need an about-face, a 180-degree-turn, a new direction. The Bible has a word for this: repentance. Instead of the wrong direction, turn around and go the right direction:
- Instead of anxiety—prayer
- Instead of worry—worship
- Instead of tests—testimonies
“Jesus is more concerned about changing our hearts than about changing our circumstances. He uses our circumstances to change our hearts, IF we will trust Him.” —Josh Schram