Do you worry about things that might happen? Imaginary troubles cannot harm us as long as we focus on Jesus.
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with one of my favorite quotations. It’s by Eugene Peterson, and it’s so true. It goes:
“All the waters in all the oceans cannot sink a ship nor can all the trouble in all the world harm us unless it gets within us.”
Don’t you love that thought? I love that thought! I keep this quotation by Eugene Peterson near me all the time, because I need to remember that all the trouble in the world cannot harm me unless, unless that trouble gets inside me.
Now, if you’re like me, you have a certain respect for the troubles that come your way, right? Let me be honest. I have lived more than 46 years as a spinal cord injured quadriplegic – I'm breaking all the statistics that say I should be dead (which makes me extremely respectful of each healthy day I enjoy). It is amazing that I possess such a hale and hearty constitution, but fears have a way of creeping in and destroying my peace of mind. Sometimes I allow myself to reflect upon all the trouble I could be experiencing. Isn’t that crazy? I mean, I'm not in any physical trouble, but I hear someone talking about their osteoporosis and their bone mineral density score, and I start thinking about the possibility (no, as a quadriplegic, surely it must be the probability) that I will break one of my already fragile bones. So the anxiety begins to build and I worry about the way I'm lifted in and out of bed. “What if my ankle hits the foot rest of my wheelchair too hard? Or what if I'm plopped into my wheelchair too forceful?” Before you know it, I'm angsting over broken bones and I haven’t so much as stubbed my toe!
So, yes, I'll admit, if I allow trouble – even imaginary trouble – to get inside me, fears and anxieties so easily build. And it doesn’t have to be about my bones. At any given time, I might be worrying about bladder bugs, lung infections, pressure sores, the growing specter of blood clots, uncontrollable spasticity. Oh, my goodness! Even though these are the kinds of troubles most quadriplegics wrestle with all the time, if I let those fears get “within me,” as that quotation by Peterson says, I’d be sunk! I’d be flooded with fear. I’d drown in anxiety and worry.
It’s why I take great comfort in that advice from Eugene Peterson’s: All the waters in all of the oceans cannot sink a ship. It is completely safe as long as no water from the ocean gets inside it. If that occurs, the ship is doomed. In the same way, all the troubles in the entire world cannot touch me, unless I allow them to get inside me. I must not allow trouble inside. I'm safe as long as I do not let fear or worry sink my heart, submerge my peace of mind or plunge my joy into a flood of despair. As long as Jesus is the ballast in my ship, I am safe. After all, He said in John chapter 16,:
“In this world you will have trouble, but take heart for I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Friend, the world is an ocean of trouble. Just listen to the nightly news, look at the turmoil in the Middle East, or read the financial page of your newspaper; but don’t allow these troubles to creep inside you. Have confidence in God. Be hopeful. Have courage. And to help you, I’d like to send you my booklet “Breaking the Bonds of Fear” in which I share how the Word of God can give you peace of heart and mind. Just go to my radio page today at joniandfriends.org and ask for your free copy – I know the insights will really bless you, as they have me. And finally, don’t forget: today, take heart and know that Jesus has overcome more than a world of trouble – that fact alone should keep you sailing straight for heaven’s horizon.
© Joni and Friends
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