MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, September 17th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Andree Seu Peterson now on how she wrestles with both anxiety and joy.
ANDRÉE SEU PETERSON, COMMENTATOR: Starting next Tuesday I’m going to praise the Lord like gangbusters. That’s when my meeting in Harrisburg is over and I can exhale. How wonderful it will be then, the white-knuckling behind me and the joy in Christ before me. For now, I need to worry.
I’m going to rejoice in the Lord, I really am, but I cannot rejoice today. Today, all sleep-deprived, my goal is just to muddle through till bedtime when I’ll catch a solid eight and be in shape to “reign in life” tomorrow.
How could I, vile sinner that I am, come to His gates with joyful praise without a proper pause to beat my breast and stay away and suffer for my wretchedness?
Psalm 51 pleads, “blot out my transgressions” and “restore to me the joy of Your salvation,” but surely David doesn’t mean today.
I said to Jesus, “Help me trust in Your unfailing love.” And then I sank again into morbidity, to hunker down until such time as He saw fit to answer me. No rush, I thought. He is the Lord. What can I do until He acts?
A friend objected to my piety. Not “Lord, help me to trust in You,” but “Lord, I trust in You! Yea, by Your grace I trust in You!”
There’s something psychologically different here, my chastened soul took note: The first prayer has a pious sound but never gets around to business, letting me postpone the joy it seeks a month or two. The second prayer enlists the mind and soul and will, no more defaulting into foolish thoughts of Tuesday next.
Paul commands, “Rejoice!” David says, “Rejoice!” But that will have to wait a week or two ’cause now I’m in a stew. There’s something I want badly and I must be anxious till it’s mine. A major life decision has me tied in knots until it’s made.
No. This nonsense stops today. Not “I’ll rejoice someday,” but “I’m rejoicing now.” Not “I will trust someday,” but “I am trusting now.” I have decided that William J. Reynolds’ hymn, “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus,” is not Arminianism but decisiveness. Once a day or 50 times a day, as needed, I will fight off fear with praise.
Rick Warren says life is a series of problems. Either you are in one now, you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into another one.
Next Tuesday is a vain imagining. And you will never just coast into joy but you must take it by the horns. For joy must be intentional or it is no match for anxiety.
The hour is late, next Tuesday never comes, and faith in God is now or naught. Time to stop this stumbling in defeat and live in joy that’s worthy of the gospel.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Andrée Seu Peterson.