Sami Yacoub is the Regional Director of Focus on the Family in the Middle East. He’s also a friend, and those of us here at Focus US have long admired his courage and bravery. Given his location and the politics of the area in which he lives, you can appreciate just how tenuous day-to-day living is for him.
With that in mind, I want to share an excerpt of an insightful article that Sami recently wrote. Although the challenges he’s facing in Egypt are unique, every one of us encounters our own types of daily anxieties. No life is free from uncertainties and risk. It’s my hope that his words will minister to you as they have to me.
HIS PRESENCE NOT HIS PRESENT!
Two weeks ago, I was invited to lead a training seminar with a group of families in a Coptic Orthodox Diocese at a small city in Upper Egypt. I was busy thinking of how could I encourage them; imagining that they are suffering the same kind of anxiety the people of Cairo are currently experiencing because of economic pressures, lack of fuel, shortage of bread supplies, high rate of inflation, etc.
I found what I did not expect.
The group I met were in peace and joy. At the beginning, I thought they were naive or not aware of what is happening in the country. I was surprised to learn that they were aware of all the details of what is happening in the country, maybe more than those who live in big cities. Still, they have a sense of unique peace, which made me wonder why I’m anxious while they weren’t? Is it because I have what I want to protect while they have nothing they are afraid to lose?
I returned home with the question:
“How in the world could these people enjoy that unique kind of peace; regardless of their tight and threatening situation?”
The Lord brought to my mind the verses in Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
There is no better weapon to fight anxiety with, than humbling ourselves! When it is impossible to control what seems to be impossible in our future, we need to stop for a while and examine ourselves to see if our anxiety stems from our desire to protect our possessions, accomplishments or secure our children’s future.
The relation between humbleness and anxiety is found crystal clear in 1 Peter 5:6-7: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
What brings peace to our minds and souls, is humbling ourselves before God newly at the beginning of every day He gives us to live. Only then, will we enjoy the privilege of experiencing Him to care for us; today, tomorrow and forever!