You Hold the World

We are all for God’s sovereignty and control when the Israelites—at an impasse with the Red Sea—were saved from being captured by Pharaoh's army. We cheer about Pharaoh releasing them from slavery in Egypt, and we read with suspense when we learn they are being pursued to be captured and brought back to Egypt to resume their lives as slaves. We cheer again when God provides a remarkable way though the sea for the Israelites and eliminates the Egyptian enemy of over 600 chariots and men. This is the way it should be, and this is the great God I worship, we think. But why do we worry about tomorrow when we worship a God who is sovereign over all? Why do we forget about what God has done in accounts like we read in Exodus 14, or in our own lives?

We worry about tomorrow when life’s storms roll in, and we become overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. This is especially true if our current storm seems a lot like one we have encountered before. What is your storm—abuse, shame, loss, health, financial crisis, marital conflict, job loss? Last year, a local weather reporter mentioned the word “derecho” when describing an upcoming storm. Many people responded with fear, panic, and dread. In all fairness, God gave us the emotion of fear—and fear may be what God uses to protect us—but is our fear overwhelming us because we are lacking faith?

Do we worry about tomorrow because we have not addressed sin in our life? Do we need to confess sin and repent, or ask someone to forgive us? Hiding our sin—or trying to ignore it—causes fear, worry, and anxiety. When we sin, it is first against our Holy God, and sometimes it is also against someone else. The message of the gospel, if we are in Christ, is that we have been forgiven for ALL of our sin because of our redemption through Jesus’ death on the cross. Prayerfully consider who God is revealing to you that you need to forgive, or from whom you may need to ask for forgiveness.

Possibly we worry about tomorrow because we wonder—Am I enough? Am I enough for my spouse to love me, to be desired for marriage, as a parent, to keep my job or get a better one, for social acceptance, to make the team, to get into college, to please God?

Let’s consider some godly responses to worry, anxiety, and fear because of God’s sovereignty. First, pray—because we are invited to talk to our God and can trust Him. In Philippians 4:5-6 we are commanded to be anxious about nothing and pray about everything. We often try to wrestle through worry and anxiety on our own strength.

Instead, cry out to God, and not as a last resort. We have David’s prayers as a guide to talk to God in our own troubles. In Psalm 28, David begins his prayer with, “O Lord my Rock.” Like David, we can turn to God knowing He is steadfast, consistent, and He hears us. David’s prayer appeals to God’s immutable attribute. David continues his prayer saying he will give thanks to God in song. Prayerfully go to God with words or singing to express your gratitude and gain victory over anxiety. When we sing You Hold the World, we say with one collective voice,

“We surrender Lord we lay down All our burdens, every burden at your feet Now we’re free to Lift our hands to God almighty, our defender Christ the King”

Pray to surrender what you don’t control—ALL your burdens, including your sin, anxiety, fear, and worry—to the One who does have control, and worship Him alone.

Another godly response is to have hope. If the Holy Spirit has enabled you to receive Christ as the only way to salvation, then Paul’s writing in Romans 8:28 saying “all things work together for good” can remind you to believe and respond with hope when fear, anxiety, and worry seem to overwhelm you. We may not be able to see the good that God is working out, but we can trust that He does. When life’s circumstances seem to zap our strength and capacity, we must turn to the Lord because He is the one who, according to Isaiah 41:31, will renew our strength when we place our hope in Him.

We recently experienced a partial eclipse. God’s glory was displayed when a relatively small object in our solar system, the moon, passed between earth and the sun to partially block the huge sun from our perspective on Earth. If we have a big view of God, that is to believe He is who He says He is in the Bible, then God can eclipse what brings anxiety and worry. His attributes—sovereign over all things, holy, supreme, and having all knowledge—allow us to have such a big view of our God that our problems become minimized to the point that we are no longer consumed with them.

How do we grow our view of God? Establish spiritual rhythms that regularly include reading of scripture, prayer, and worship. Some specific scripture references to consider when building a big view of God are Psalms 104 and 105, Job 38-41, and all four gospel accounts of Jesus overcoming death (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20). Finally, respond to worry, fear, and anxiety with faith. Not in what the world offers, because that is spiritual adultery, but in God. When God is what we prize most in a time of worry, fear, and anxiety, we are putting our faith in Him. In Psalm 27:5, David puts his faith in God:

“For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble, he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.”

David’s faith prompted him to write these words. He had faith that God would do something and repeated “he will” several times in the passage. According to Paul Tautges, in Anxiety; Knowing God’s Peace, “Faith cripples the power of fear by reminding us of the right-now presence of the Lord.” The author of Psalm 46 also expressed unwavering faith in God. If the earth was to give way and we saw mountains falling into the sea we would likely experience a great amount of fear; however, they point out that even then, God is our refuge and strength and we don’t need to fear.

Recognizing God is in control of everything in the world diffuses the tension we often feel when we think we have something to do with what is happening around us. We simply do not—HE holds the whole world in His hands.

You Hold the World is available now on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, or wherever you listen.

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