Suffering with hope

A Prayer For Anxious Times

“Put your trust in the Lord.”

Psalm 4:5

Lord, there is so much to fear as sickness and chaos loom all around us. Earthly security is as stable as the shifting winds, and the unknowns that lie ahead are unsettling at best and paralyzing at their worst.

We know all things are under your control. You reign over every molecule, every dollar or job lost, every plan cancelled, and every time and season under the sun. But we confess that we too often put our hopes in lesser things, resting our confidence in the false security of our health, job, bank account, routines, wisdom, gifts, and loved ones.

As the security of these things are shaken, our eyes turn toward you in repentance over how easily we rest our confidence in ourselves and the world around us. How quickly we worship the creation instead of the Creator. Forgive us for our wandering hearts and thank you that you promise to be faithful, even when we are faithless. Thank you, Father, that you are a God of patience, grace, and loving kindness, and that we can trust you with every moment of our lives.

This unsettling season we face echoes the wisdom of the sixteenth century Puritan, Thomas Lye –

“The Lord Jehovah should be the sole object of a believer’s trust. In stormy and tempestuous seas we must come to this rock for a refuge (Isaiah 26:4). Holy trust is an act of worship proper and peculiar to a holy God. Trust in God takes us off the hinges of all other confidences. More particularly, we must not repose a holy trust in anything besides God, whether within us, or without us. We cannot lean on our own understanding, it will lead us into a bog (Prov. 3:5). We cannot trust in our own heart, it is too deceitful (Jer. 17:9). We cannot trust our bodily strength. The most brawny arm will utterly fail the assaults of death and sickness. Legs that now stand like pillars of brass will shortly appear what they really are, sinking pillars of moulding clay. We cannot trust in our natural, acquired excellencies, they are altogether vanity. There is nothing outside of us that we might trust either. Trusting in any part of creation is to feed on gravel. We must not trust in the abundance of riches; even in their fullest flow they are most uncertain and will not profit in the day of wrath. Also, trusting man is but a broken reed. Man is dust and with death our hopes perish. Ah, but saints can upon stable ground build their trust in God! All that we discover in God will teach us to place the arms of our trust in him alone. Our God is a safe place on which to lean.” 

Heavenly Father, in the days and weeks ahead, strengthen our fearful and anxious hearts and draw us into your steadfast and trustworthy arms. Stresses abound, fears press in, and the future is uncertain, but our hope is in you alone. Help us to trust your grace and strength for the moment at hand, rather than fixating on all that we can’t control. And may we be a light to those around us who are seeking a solid rock in this shifting world.

Lord, hear our prayers and answer us when we call. You have been faithful in the past. Show us your faithfulness now. There are some who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” Put more joy in our hearts than when they have their grain and wine abound. In peace we will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make us dwell in safety (Psalm 4).

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that no matter what we may lose in this world, our hope in you cannot be shaken. Our earthly comforts and lives may be taken, but because of Jesus, our souls dwell in safety. Even as we wrestle with our losses, confess our doubts and fears, and imperfectly walk in faith, may we be a beacon of hope to the fearful world around us and point many to the joy of our salvation and the secure hope we have in Christ.

In our own strength, we will falter and give way to fear, but in your strength, may we stand firm and walk in faith, bringing glory to your name.

Amen.

~Sarah Walton

To read more on the hope we have in suffering, you can purchase “Hope When It Hurts – 30 Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering” authored by Sarah Walton and Kristen Wetherell here or here. Or, for encouragement in your marriage in this uncertain time, you can find Jeff and Sarah Walton’s book, Together Through the Storms – Biblical Encouragements for Your Marriage When Life Hurts here or on Amazon. To hear more of their story, you can watch the book trailer here-

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