As pressure and stress bear down on me,
I find joy in your commands. – Psalm 119:143
Relief. How many times I have felt relief, after my anxious mind has again been tormenting me with imagined fears.
I come out of a supermarket and can’t find my car… then I see it. Relief.
I leave work on a Friday after a difficult interaction with a colleague, and wonder, churn, speculate if the relationship is intact or not. Monday he’s not at work, and I’m concerned. Tuesday, we manage to exchange pleasantries, and I start to soften again. Relief. There’s forgiveness and understanding after all.
I hear a strange noise at night. A burglar? Trouble outside? Malfunctioning central heating? Checking locks and staring uncomprehendingly in the airing cupboard, the heart stops pounding, and I trust again. Relief. All is well. All must be well.
I’m anxious again… who knows why. Sometimes it rains down on me like a mucky film of Sahara sand all over my landscape. I long for a change of weather. I long for a change in my constitution. Where I got this nature, I don’t know, but it’s deeply embedded into my identity. Is it possible to imagine that God can change my heart – change me – bring relief from this tormenting, perpetual, low-level anxiety? Yes. It is possible.
And so I enter into a lifelong pursuit of Peace. I fight for it. I cling to it. Month by month, year by year, I discover this Peace is a person, not a mood or feeling. I encounter Jesus as my prince of peace, and in his presence I find the anxieties flee. Relief.