God's Prescription for Dealing With Loss
Philippians 4: 6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.
The Christian life promises no extra protection from the hazards of living. That is a harsh reality we all must face at some point in our lives. The world can be a cold and hard place. Jesus Himself warned us that we would face tribulation in the world. We will see loved ones die. We will have love walk away from us. We will have to deal with loss. It is in the dealing with loss that we have the benefit in Christ Jesus. For even though Christ said we would have tribulation, it is what He said right after that, which should provide comfort:
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
We cannot overcome the world on our own but we do not have to because Christ already has! Note that the John verse speaks to the subject of peace. That is also at the heart of the Philippians verses. The first thing Paul writes here is that we should not be anxious about anything. When tragedy befalls anyone the usual reaction is anxiety. If a loved one passes away, we become anxious about the loss, how we will go on, or even their state of salvation. It is only the natural process of being human. If you are hurt in a relationship the natural reaction is anxiety. You may question what you did wrong, how to move on with your life, or how you can trust again. These are all perfectly normal reactions to the stress of loss. It is what we do with the anxiety that matters.
In the world, anxiety can be all-encompassing. It can literally eat away at us like a cancer. It can be debilitating; leading to depression and selfpity. It can affect your other relationships, family, friendships, and work. That is not the way God intended for us to live! These Philippians verses provide the prescription to live by and it all comes back to faith. In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Within this prescription there are three facets. First of all, God wants to be involved in EVERYTHING. Note that Paul does not just say to submit what is making you anxious, but everything to God. Why? Because we do not know what will eventually lead to anxiety. We do not see anything beyond the moment we are in but God sees all time. He knows that the fledgling relationship you are in will develop into heartache. He knows the loss that is right around your corner or far off. He knows all. So submit all to Him.
How do we submit all to Him? Through prayer and petition. Why did Paul differentiate between the two? Because prayer is supposed to be a continual conversation we have with God. Through prayer we should be constantly presenting our requests to God. Petition refers to a more defined request. When anxiety may have already set in, you can petition God. When you have left Him out of something that has now caused you pain, you can always petition Him.