‘My enemies turn back; they stumble and perish before you.’ Psalm 9.3
If we are honest, when we read this verse part of us is probably thinking, “That would be good!” Who wouldn’t find it attractive if everything that is a bother and anxiety to us disappeared when God was suddenly around to help!
The reality is somewhat different: we seek to give our lives increasingly to God, but our ‘enemies’ do not stumble and perish. Indeed at times they seem to invite new ‘enemies’ to come and join the fun! How can this verse become a reality for us?
It comes down to a question of focus. If we keep looking at our ‘enemies’- those things that hurt or distract us and rob us of joy - then the chances are that they will become even greater in our lives. The secret is to focus our attention on something else.
This verse speaks of the enemies stumbling before God – and it is God upon whom we need to put our attention. We want him to be magnified in our lives rather than all the difficulties. One way to do this is to spend time in worship, honouring God’s greatness over all the world and over everything in our lives. Another way is to spend moments throughout the day recognising the truth of who we really are – bearers of his name. Both of these will magnify God and cause the clamouring of our ‘enemies’ to cease. The attention they once demanded from us will be reduced as something of the wonder of God fills our hearts and minds once again.
So when anxiety or worry hits you, rather than dwell on it, let it serve as a call for you to turn to God and focus on his wonder and commitment to you. Why not start right now? What is causing you anxiety? Rather than fixing your attention on this, fix it upon the God who is always there for you, loving you and caring.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission