A new school year approaches, and my summer freedom is disappearing. There is always some sadness, but I’m especially excited to teach 4th grade this year. After teaching 5th grade for 5 years, this is a refreshing change. I have also been living alone all summer since my roommate has been a white water rafting guide down in southern Colorado. But she is coming home in a little over a week! I have a tendency to get anxious in the midst of change and transition. However, I thought it would be different this time since I am looking forward to these changes. Instead, I have been surprised by some very anxious feelings tonight. Again. Why, Lord? I have dealt with changes like this over and over, and I have learned so much about trusting Him to provide for my every need.
Last spring God used my anxiety to show me pride in my heart. And He brought me right back there again tonight. Do you realize that there is a connection between pride and anxiety? When anxious feelings are present, Pride says, “I want to (and think that somehow I can) control the situation in my own strength. I don’t need help.” Humility admits, “I understand that my strength is not sufficient and that I need a Savior. I need to rely on Him moment by moment.” And in fact, humility and anxiety are tied together in 1 Peter 5:6-7, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.”
I don’t want to struggle with anxiety. But God is still teaching me to rely on Him and not my own strength–like Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12 that God didn’t remove his thorn for the purpose of keeping him from becoming conceited. “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (vs. 9)
In my struggle tonight, I opened up to both of these passages. Since I saw the word “therefore” at the beginning of 1 Peter 5:6, I looked up at verse 5 to see what had preceded it: “God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.” The Holy Spirit began illuminating more connections. Grace. My grace is sufficient for you… God gives grace to the humble… Humble yourselves, casting all your anxieties on Him.
The overall attitude is one of humility and the result is God’s grace: a heart that rejoices in weakness because it means the power of Christ will rest there, a heart that consistently practices humility by casting all anxieties on Him, a heart that humbly acknowledges need and therefore receives God’s abundant grace, a heart that trusts God’s grace to always be sufficient.