Peace is something that you don’t always think about until you’re having to function without it.

It’s like a random muscle that you’re not even aware until you pull it. Now it hurts in ways that you can’t ignore and it taxes your concentration sometimes to the point where it’s hard to think about anything else.

The absence of peace ranges from something that’s a mild irritant to something that can be paralyzing.

You can be “anxious…”

…you can be “afraid…”

Those dynamics certainly qualify as a situation where you’re not confident or “settled.”

But when you’re in pain…

That’s definitely a level of angst that makes you willing to do just about anything to recover that time when you were not feeling the hurt that can be overwhelming.

That’s one of the practical perks that I really value when it comes to one’s relationship with Christ.

Do Not Worry

Look at this:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. (Heb 4:15)

The writer of Hebrews is referring to Jesus – Someone Who, as a human being, experienced every temptation to “worry,” yet was able to somehow rise above it and maintain an even disposition.

Bear in mind, the command to not worry is, in fact, a command.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:28-34)

And you’ve got Him saying the same thing in John:

“A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16:32-33 [see also Jn 14:27])

Now, here’s the thing: If Jesus is saying, “Don’t worry,” then to be anxious represents a sin.

Hang on…

I know that sounds a little over the top.

If your heart is broken or you’re concerned about your child or you’re wondering about a grade, an interview, a relationship…

Your heart isn’t beating if those things don’t register as scenarios that either hurt or make you anxious.

How do you not “worry?” How can you be at peace?

There’s a lot of commentary that attempts to explain the words and actions of Christ leading up to the crucifixion and even just before He passed away.

Was He afraid? Was He worried?

Fact is, as human beings our anxiety is usually centered around what we cannot know for certain. Jesus didn’t have any such misgivings. He knew the outcome, He knew what was on the other side of the next several hours as He agonized over what was about to happen while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.

But He also knew it was going to be excrutiating.

You can dread something without being afraid of it. Jesus wasn’t “worried” about what the flogging, the humilation and the torture. But that doesn’t mean He was looking forward to it. You can see that when He made one final appeal to His Father, asking if there might be another way.

He wasn’t violating His command to not worry, He was simply reflecting on the immense pain that He was going to have to endure and you can do that without being frightened or uncertain.

How Do You Get it Done?

There’s a medical anomaly called “Hemotohidrosis.” It’s a situation where you’re in such a state of duress that the condition that typically results in your face turning red when you blush, is now so intense that the blood that normally just rises to the surface is now actually oozing out your sweat glands.

That’s what was going on in Luke 22:44 when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane and Scripture said that His sweat became “like drops of blood.”

Jesus was aware of every nuance of what was about to occur as far as Him being flogged, beaten and ultimately crucified. You don’t walk into a situation like that and not worry.

But was He not violating His own command to not worry by being upset?

Where’s that “peace” you were talking about a little bit ago, Jesus?

At one point, just before He passed away, He said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Ps 22:1)

That sounds like someone who feels abandoned, hurt and worried.


Here’s the thing: Go back to Matthew 6:32. What does Jesus say about the “pagans?” How do they respond to “worry?”

According the verse, they allow their anxiety to dictate their actions and their priorities – they “run after” the things they believe are unavailable apart from whatever they think they’re able to do.

And a lot of times, that kind of perspective gives bad ideas the ability to look good and suddenly you’re in a spot that’s worse than where you were before you attempted to solve the problem on your own.

Paul offers a great way to properly interpret this…

26 “In your anger do not sin : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. (Eph 4:26-27)

The verse doesn’t say, “Don’t get angry.” There’s plenty of legitimate reasons why you would get mad. Jesus was angry when He cleared the Temple (Jn 2:15).

The issue isn’t the emotion. The problem is the actions inspired by the worry, the fear and the anger that seemingly justifies the sin you would do in attempt to alleviate the pain and give full vent to your temper.

That’s what Jesus is referring to.

Jesus didn’t sin by agonizing over the pain and the humiliation that He was about to endure. He would’ve sinned, however, had He allowed what was a healthy reaction to what lie in store to justify walking away from the very thing that needed to be done.

When Jesus says, “Do not worry,” you need to hear that as “Look at Me.”

Don’t Be Afraid

When you were kids and your Daddy was in the pool encouraging you to jump into his arms, he probably said, “Don’t be afraid.” He wasn’t being critical of your hesitation as much as he was encouraging you to look past your fear and see him waiting to catch you.

In life, sometimes you have to jump. You have to depend on Him when it hurts. You have to trust Him when every emotion would have you focus on what’s inside your head versus the arms that are reaching out to catch you.

When Jesus said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,” that was verse one of Psalm 22.

Look at what that same Psalm says beginning in verse 22:

I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you. 23 You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! 24 For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. (Ps 22:22-24)

Jesus had every mental faculty available to Him when He said what He did. He wasn’t uncorking a mental bottle of doubt and fear, He was pointing to a Psalm authored by David that starts out with a heart wrenching cry for help that ends with a victory that leaves all of his enemies conceding the Ultimate Power and Greatness of God.

1 Peter says this:

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Pet 5:7)

When you worry – and it will happen – you don’t need to chastise yourself from “feeling” the emotion triggered by the pain or the absence of a bottom line that characterizes your situation. Rather, you want to take that feeling that would otherwise wash all over you and redirect it to the One Who has vowed to provide the Power and the Perspective you need in order to do the right thing at the right time in the right way for all the right reasons (Is 26:3; 41:10; Phil 4:19).

Let Him Drive

There’s a story in 2 Kings that provides a great picture of the kind of mindset you want when you’re feeling like you’re hanging by a thread:

Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”

The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.

11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”

12 “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”

13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:8-17)

Don’t evaluate your situation solely on what you can see. Your God has you (1 Jn 4:4) and your situation completely in Hand (Ps 139:16). Trust in Him (Prov 3:5-6) and don’t just give Him the wheel, give Him the keys and let Him drive.

THAT’s when you can “feel” a relief from either your pain or your anger – when you intentionally acknowledge Him and give over what it is that would otherwise weigh you down. It’s not so much that your situation has changed anymore than the cross was something that suddenly didn’t need to be faced, just because Jesus “prayed.” The challenge is still there, but now you’re seeing it in it’s proper context – as something that God knows and controls…

…and for that reason, you can rest assured that when you jump, you will be caught!


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