Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (NIV)
Living in a remote area, we have many hunters. This means that we also have lots of bones.
After skinning and butchering moose or deer, caribou or elk, hunters often leave the bones behind. Local dogs find these bones and bury them, carry them home, or simply enjoy a good chew.
My neighbour's dogs run free and thus often bring an assortment of said bones onto my property to share with my dogs, who are always happy about such a treat. I, however, am not so overjoyed, as bones can present a grave danger. As a dog worries a bone, the bone can splinter or split, causing damage to the dog's teeth and mouth. If swallowed, it can penetrate the stomach or intestines and cause serious harm, even death. I am therefore diligent in watching for and collecting any bones which make their way across my dogs' path.
Worrying bones, however, is not limited to canines. How often we Christians worry a bone of contention. Someone has slighted us. We have been treated unfairly. Our feelings are damaged, our spirit wounded, and we worry the episode to death within our minds. We think of all we could or should have said or done to put others in their place. Shards and splinters of their speech or deeds break off in the recesses of our minds and stab at our pride and well-being. Such worrying is indeed very harmful. It does us no good, and if continued, it can lead to mental, spiritual, and even physical illness or even death. Stress from worry is a great killer, whereas the positive action of prayer and thanksgiving has the opposite affect. When we choose to replace our anxiety and worry with faith in God's ability to use all things for good and to bring about justice in His time, instead of worrying the bone of contention, we are able to chew on all the things we can be thankful for — all the right and good, lovely and excellent, praiseworthy and beautiful things about ourselves, others, and our situations.
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the privilege of prayer, talking to You. Encourage our hearts and minds this day to lay aside any bones of contention we may be worrying and instead enable us to choose to chew upon all that is good and right, all that is praiseworthy and lovely, and all that glorifies You and blesses us. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.