“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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 4:5-7
Why Do We Worry
Google’s definition: to give way to anxiety or unease; allow one's mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.
A lot of the time, worry is the result of trying to control things we can’t control. Worry comes from hypothetical maybes, what ifs, current hardships. To worry is to dwell in those thoughts. To worry is to let those thoughts settle and take a place in our minds.
Finals cause worry - worry that your grades won’t cut it, that your studying won’t pay off, that your professors are against you, the list goes on. Our culture gives this time during finals its own name: finals season. I honestly don’t think the week of and the weeks leading up to finals deserves to have its own label. Somehow it’s become expected to settle for a couple weeks of anxiety simply because it’s “finals season.” But finals do not deserve all of our attention.
God deserves all of our attention.
The peace that replaces worry doesn’t make sense. But that’s why it’s God’s job. It’s not up to us to muster up any peace that we can find within ourselves. It’s up to us to depend entirely on Him to supply that peace.
A Transcending Peace
“Do not be anxious about anything.” Okay, God, easier said than done.
Feeling at peace despite difficult circumstances really isn’t normal. It’s not easy. It’s not reasonable. It literally transcends all understanding. A lot of what God does is beyond our comprehension.
In these verses, Paul reminds us that the Lord is near. God cares about your finals. He really does. But He cares A LOT more about you. God is more concerned about your drawing near to Him when you get worried about finals, than He is about your performance on those finals. He wants you to turn to Him the moment you experience anxiety. His presence will be what makes your worries fade.
Followers of Christ are set apart. We are incredibly blessed to be able to turn to a God who can remove our fears and lavish us in His love. A part of being set apart is reacting differently to these last couple weeks of school.
Finals don’t have to determine your level of joy.
They don’t have to have that kind of authority. God cannot wait to respond to your prayers. EVEN the prayers about your finals. He just loves when you draw near.
“By prayer and petition, present your requests to God,” then peace will come in. It won’t make sense to the world. It won’t make sense to some of your closest friends. But it will be impactful. People will notice your attitude towards finals. Let’s pray that it’s contagious.
Hey God. Thanks for your peace. Help me to turn to you when I get worried. Come be my peace as I study for, take these finals, and work on my projects. You are better and more worthy of my attention than anything else. Love you. Amen.