This past Sunday night, I was in Melbourne, Australia, where I had been doing some Bible teaching. That night, the New Zealand All Blacks played against France in the finals of the Rugby World Cup—the most significant rugby competition in the world. What spiced up the evening even more was that several of us watched the match on TV with a colleague from New Zealand who is an avid fan of the All Blacks. It was a close match (and an ugly one, even to my untrained eye) with the All Blacks clinging to an ultra-slim one point advantage going into the last 10 minutes of the match. As the clock wound down, the tension rose—both in the stadium on TV and in my friend sitting on the other end of the couch. He hung on every play, every decision by the referee, and every missed opportunity. In reality, he reminded me a lot of me when I watch a team that I’m a fan of. Yet it seemed odd to see him so filled with anxiety and for me to personally experience not even the slightest ounce of tension. There were anxious moments in the game, but not for me. I watched it with the detached interest of a true spectator.
Unfortunately, we seldom have the comfort of being spectators of life. We get dragged into the anxious moments of trial, concern, danger, or threat, feeling our blood pressure rise and our fears escalate—seemingly with no escape. But, before we write ourselves off as victims, we do have an option. Rather than attempting to bear up under that stress and anxiety in our own meager strength, we can turn to Christ, who offers His help and hope to us. This is one of the great realities we experience in prayer where, as Paul said, we can:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).
In prayer, we not only have an outlet for our anxiety, but we also have the promise of God’s peace in our tense moments. Even more, we are given the assurance that Christ Himself will protect our hearts and enable us to face the anxious moments of life. Rest in Him. He not only fully knows the outcomes we will face in our anxious moments, He is strong enough to carry us through them.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain