Freedom From Anxiety
By George Müller
"Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
"Be careful for nothing." This by no means signifies that we may be careless, thoughtless or unconcerned about everything. That is not the meaning of it. The meaning is, not to be anxious about anything. This is one of the privileges of the children of God. They are permitted, not only permitted but invited, not only invited but commanded, to bring all their cares, sorrows, trials, and wants to their heavenly Father. They are to roll all their burdens upon God and to cast all their cares upon Him.
And because they are permitted, yes, commanded so to do, they have no need to be anxious about anything. However many or varied our difficulties or necessities may be, we should commit them all in believing prayer to God. We are not to be anxious. And why not? Because it is impossible to be anxious without dishonoring God.
If the men of the world see that we Christians are anxious like they are, they will have ground for saying that our profession of having an Almighty Friend and Helper in heaven is only a profession. Therefore we dishonor God by not trusting in Him in the hour of need.
We have, however, such a friend. He is willing and able to help us and to deliver us in His own time and way. This is the very reason why we need not be anxious about anything.
But you say, how can I, a wife with a husband given to drinking, not be anxious? I say, my sister in Christ, you are to pray for your husband. You are to pray for that husband very earnestly. But remember to look out for an answer to your prayer. It is the will of our heavenly Father that you are not to be anxious even in such circumstances. You are earnestly seeking that he should be converted, that is right and proper. But still be not anxious even in such circumstances. If you roll the burden upon God and cast all your care upon Him you will be free from anxiety even regarding this.
And thus with every matter regarding our children, for instance, who are unconverted. We have to be careful to train them in the fear of God, to set a holy godly example before them, to pray much for them and, at suitable times, bring the truth before them. But even regarding them, we are not to be anxious. We are to roll the burden, the whole burden, upon God. He will carry the burden for us.
So we are to take the promise literally, "Be anxious about nothing." Thus we shall walk in holy confidence. Trust in your heavenly Father, look to Him, confide in Him, knowing that He will help in His own time and way.
But while the commandment is not to be anxious about anything, at the same time, we are exhorted to bring everything before God. It is not to make us careless but to teach us to lean upon Him alone.
We are here exhorted to bring the matter before God. "In everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God." Notice especially the word "everything." It is not simply great matters we are to bring before God, not simply small things but "everything." Therefore, all our affairs, temporal or spiritual, let us bring them before God. And this for the simple reason that life is made up of little things. If we attempt to stand in our own strength under little trials we shall find them too heavy for us and we shall fall, which is dishonoring to God.
The Folly of Neglecting This Command
When a Christian attempts to carry the little burdens in his own strength I know he will soon dishonor God. We have not a particle of strength to carry any burdens, little or great. Therefore we must bring them all to God. And if we attempt to carry them we shall find that they will increase in weight.
To speak after the manner of men, God puts a pound weight of trial upon us and if we take it up and lay it on the shoulders of our heavenly Father it is gone. But if, on the other hand, we attempt to carry it ourselves, what will the result be? Soon it will increase to ten pounds. And if we still try to carry it, it will increase to a hundred-weight. If we continue to try to stagger under it in our own strength, it will increase still more, in order to teach us to cast it upon God.
Now our wisdom is just this, when we have any little burdens let us all tell our heavenly Father, "I have no strength for this weight, I cannot carry the burden." Our heavenly Father is ready to do this for us. He has commanded us to roll all our cares on Him and not attempt to carry them in our own strength. Let us then cast all our cares and burdens upon God and He will carry them for us.
Therefore it is so deeply important "in everything, by prayer and supplication, to let your requests be made known to God." That is, with prayer, and not only with prayer but with supplication, with earnestness and with entreaty. We sometimes act just like beggars. They ask for alms and you seem not to listen and pass on. But they go after you, perhaps twenty steps and sometimes even a hundred yards or more. They follow you still asking until they obtain the alms they desire.
Now this is what we may have to do: not simply to mention our request before God but to go on asking again and again with earnest prayer and supplication until we receive. Just ask as a beggar would. Will not our heavenly Father give it to us seeing that He has bestowed His greatest gift, even His Son, upon us?
"He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32).
Again we especially have to notice that prayer and supplication is to be coupled with thanksgiving. That is, we should lay the foundation in the way of thanksgiving and upon that place the superstructure of prayer and supplication. We should praise the Lord for what He has given us already while asking Him for more blessing.
We are frequently very remiss in this. We forget to render praise for the mercies already received from our heavenly Father. This should not be so.
In the next verse we have the precious result if we do offer thanksgiving. Our hearts are at peace instead of hurrying hither and thither as men beside themselves. Instead of great excitement our hearts will be at peace as the result of prayer and praise. We shall have the peace which passeth all understanding. The peaceful calm which is so precious and which no words can describe shall be in our hearts.
"The peace of God, which passeth understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." The idea of a garrison is in that word "keep." It means that our hearts shall be kept by the peace of God, as a garrison keeps a fortress.
There is much in these verses. The men of this world and even some children of God who know not these truths and do not ask for this peace, are wretched, anxious and hurrying about like people beside themselves when great troubles come. We, the children of God who know these precious truths, are able calmly to wait on the Lord and leave ourselves quietly in the hands of God.
Thus the peace which passeth understanding will rule in our hearts and minds and shall not merely give help but shall keep us from false ways. It will bring honor to God before the world, comfort the children of God and bring praise, honor and glory to Him. This peace of God, thus obtained and continued, will keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and keep us in the right road.