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travelling light (daily devotions for your elective)


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Day 4: A Prescription for Anxiety: A Nun’s Story

Philippians 4: 4 - 9
A Prescription for Anxiety: A Nun’s Story

She hadn’t looked particularly happy when she walked through the door. In fact she looked distinctly anxious and depressed.

It’s not every day that a bevy of Nuns walks into the Gynae clinic and this group included their Mother Superior! They sat down together while the ‘patient’ described her symptoms and she then retired to the adjacent examination room where I examined her. There were no signs of any physical disease and it seemed to me more a problem of an emotional or spiritual ‘dis-ease’, which was producing physical symptoms. We had a long chat together and then I wrote out a prescription and handed it to her and they left the clinic.

A few minutes later, there was a commotion outside the door and they burst back in. ‘We’ve just read what you have written on the prescription pad. Can you teach us to sing it?’ I had in fact written out the words of an old chorus I had learnt as a child.

  • All your anxieties, all your cares
  • Take to the mercy seat, leave them there.
  • Never a burden He cannot bear
  • Never a friend like Jesus.
The next 10 minutes were taken up by an impromptu ‘choir’ practice in the clinic while I taught them the tune, then off they went. I could hear them singing their way down the corridor and off into the distance.

Prayer and Action
Yesterday we were thinking about the little foxes that can destroy our fruitfulness. Perhaps anxiety is another one that needs to be dealt with. The passage we have read today gives us Paul’s prescription for anxiety and he has written four items on his pad. They are best taken and applied as prescribed, and you can be reassured that there is no risk from an overdose. Make them the basis of your prayers and actions today:
  1. Rejoice and give thanks always and in every situation - verses 4 and 6.
  2. Pray in every situation and about everything - verse 6.
  3. Think and fill your minds with the things listed - verse 8.
  4. Put what you read in God’s word into practice - verse 9.
The prognosis is good - for you will experience that ‘the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’ (v7) and that ‘the God of peace will be with you’ (v9).
What it is to be in the safe hands of the greatest Physician of them all!

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