If you could look inside your head, would you find the thought center of your mind dotted with the warts of worry and the ulcers of anxiety? If so, you might find some comfort in the potent promise of Isaiah 26:3: You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Here’s the simple truth of this verse: If your mind is not staying on God, it’s straying from Him, and it’s easily disoriented by the worries of life. Undisciplined thoughts leave room for unfounded arguments that foster fear; however, Christ-centered thinking augments your faith and smothers the fires of anxiety.
Billy Graham has said, Historians will probably call our era “the age of anxiety.” Anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are c entered on anything short of God and His will for us.
Worry and anxiety are expressions of fear and both can be attributed to a sense of lacking or loneliness. The next time your mind begins to agonize over thoughts like these, mobilize by taking these steps:
- Focus on God: I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. ~Psalm 34:4
- Claim the promise of God’s presence: Be strong and brave! Don’t be afraid and don’t panic, for I, the Lord your God, am with you in all you do. ~Joshua 1:9
- Believe God loves you: The Lord your God is in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you with His love; and, He will rejoice over you with singing. ~Zephaniah 3:17
- Get a grip on life: For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” ~Isaiah 41:13
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
The phone rang twice, and then I heard Johnny Lawson’s voice say a raspy, “Hello.” I said, “I just called to see if you’re still among the living.” He replied, “Hi Stan, I still recognize your voice after all of these years.”
Johnny was my immediate supervisor when I reported for duty at Peterson Field, in Colorado Springs. I had one measly stripe sewn to my shirt sleeve and a big mouth that kept getting me into trouble. Fortunately, Johnny’s uniform was lined with stripes, and he had my back.
Each year when October makes its appearance on the calendar. I think quite a bit about Johnny. I’ve called this fine man my friend for the past 43 years.
Johnny did more than save my hide, he was also instrumental in saving my soul. Through the wonderful kindness of him and his family, I came to know Jesus as my Savior.
When I think of Johnny, I think of the way Solomon spoke of friends:
- Some friends may ruin you, but a real friend will be more loyal than a brother (Proverbs 18:24)
- A true friend loves regardless of the situation, and a real brother exists to share the tough times (Proverbs 17:17)
- In the same way that iron sharpens iron, a person sharpens the character of his friend (Proverbs 27:17).
I have to agree with Charles Spurgeon, “Friendship is one of the sweetest joys of life. Many might have failed beneath the bitterness of their trial, had they not found a friend.”
In October of 1972, Johnny Lawson walked into the emergency where I was being treated for a severe head injury. Over the next month, he and his family went far beyond the call of duty to help nurse me back to health.
Had this friend not found me, I might have failed beneath the bitterness of my trial. Johnny Lawson is my definition of what a friend is to be.