Monday, February 28, 2011

Rattled Nerves

What makes you nervous?

I was thinking about this today, because I had a recent situation where I felt quite nervous. An individual asked me a question that I didn’t know how to answer, which resulted in the blood receding from my face and my heart starting to pound. I was nervous, but why?

As I have reflected on that situation and others like it, I’m struck by the fact that Jesus never appeared nervous in the gospels. Perhaps a person could argue that in the Garden of Gethsemane He was nervous, but I would counter that He was nervous in a different manner than we are. Jesus was troubled then because He knew the ordeal that lay ahead of Him, but I wouldn’t say He was nervous in the sense of fearful.

Our nervousness usually stems from fear, which in turn stems from a lack of faith. Jesus rebuked the disciples for their fear during a storm saying, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” He was actually sleeping on the boat during the same storm and clearly not nervous at all.

What are we afraid of when our nerves begin to quake? In my situation, I was afraid of looking stupid or having someone makes me look bad in an argument. I had issues of pride that were contributing to my nerves. If I didn’t care whether I ‘won’ that argument or not, I wouldn’t have been nervous. But I wanted to win, and when a question put me in a corner, I grew a little nervous.

I’ve also experienced losing control of a vehicle and that made me quite nervous. My heart really raced then and my muscle tensed in fear. But even in that situation, isn’t God in control? Of course He is, but my faith is little as Jesus said.

Money can unnerve me at times as well. Years ago, I invested in a company that I thought was on the cutting edge of their industry, offering an innovative new product. I was sure their stock prices would sky rocket. Unfortunately, they sank and I lost most of my investment. What made me nervous as I watched my investment dwindle? Misplaced faith. I was trusting in that investment instead of God.

Imagine if you trusted in the LORD with no inhibition. You are absolutely surrendered to Christ and not worrying about your reputation, your health, your wealth, or even your life. Would there be anything that you would make you nervous? Absolutely not.

So what if someone thinks I’m stupid, I know what God thinks of me. So what if I lose all my money, I know I have treasure in Heaven with the LORD. So what if I lose my health, I have a new body waiting for me when Jesus returns. So what if I even lose my life, I have eternal life with Jesus Christ.

Paul got it. He experienced that kind of peaceful life and wrote to the Philippian believers, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I’m not there yet, but by God’s grace, I’m moving toward that goal. I hope and pray you are too.

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