This past Sunday, Aug. 25, while spending time with our friend Ben, we opted to watch Life Church online since attending church in person is not an option at the moment. The church was wrapping up a series called “Anxious for Nothing.”
As the message began, I actually started to feel more anxious. Even as the verses telling me not to worry appeared, I still felt uneasy.
“Be anxious [μεριμνᾶτε] for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – Acts 4:6
Afterward, I told our friend that watching a message on not being anxious actually made me feel more anxious. Like in some way, it just reminded me that there are many things to be anxious about right now. Kind of how you don’t notice something until someone points it out then it's all you can see.
I even said, “It’s not that I am anxious for nothing but rather that I am anxious about everything.”
Even while resting in God’s care and trusting his sovereignty, my humanity still fights. Wrestling with the tension, I decided to use Josh's fancy "Logos" Bible software that he often used, to study this verse in hopes of resolution and more clarity.
The Greek word, μεριμνᾶτε, appearing here means to “be anxious about, to be troubled with care.” Other phrases used to describe the word include “to be burdened with anxious care” and yet another that resonates with me specifically states to “scan minutely.”
Caring for Josh during this time is not a burden but it is hard. There are definitely many moments of anxious care where I find myself scanning the situation minutely to ensure Josh is resting well, has his basic needs met, feels loved and cared for, etc.
When expectations and hopes are high yet Josh’s health declines, anxiety is a natural response. And I expect it is a natural response for anyone in a mismatched situation. Trying to “Give it to God” and follow the guidance of, “Be anxious for nothing” is not as simple as merely reading the words.
Not fully settled with the words in Philippians, I continued to search for Godly wisdom and found it in a surprising place, in Jude 1. The word anxious also appears here but in a very different way. Here, instead of being anxious for things of this world, we are encouraged to look toward eternity.
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.” – Jude 1:20-21.
The word's meaning in Jude is not the same as the one in Philippians. Instead, in this verse the word anxious means "to look forward to." I can't help but see the connection between the two.
In the middle of anxiety we are to anxiously wait for God's mercy with an eternal perspective!
Dare I simplify something down to a three-step process?
• Don’t be anxious
• Look forward to eternity
• Rest in God’s Love.
Of course, it's not quite simple. And that’s okay too. The Lord is still near as we weave in and out of the steps, and for that I am so thankful.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard [our] hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Acts 4:7
In April of 2019, we learned that Josh had a large brain tumor, a glioblastoma, in the middle of his brain. At the age of 41, this was quite the surprise. Josh sadly passed away after a short battle on September 30, 2019.
View his obituary
These past months, we've navigated the complexities of treatment, and hospice care and learned that there wasn't really treatment and that in Josh's case, the tumor was inoperable.
We're sharing our hearts and experience as we navigate this unexpected turn and God's goodness in the middle of it. We hope to encourage others by sharing our story.
Thank you for following along with our journey even in grief.
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If you'd like to donate to medical expenses, here's a link or you can email us questions
More about Josh & Jenn
Jenn Brown is the author of this site, a loving wife and communications guru.
Josh Brown most recently served on staff at Fellowship Bible Church in NWA as a Springdale Community Pastor. We've served in ministry in Missouri, Texas, Virginia and Nevada.
Cancer has been big part of our story. Josh has battled cancer three times already with the first to being non-Hodgkins lymphoma at ages 15 and 25 and the third thyroid cancer last year and a GBM, brain tumor this year.
Jenn's mom, Carol passed away from breast cancer 21 years ago and her father also went through treatments for Chronic Leukemia (CLL) in 2017 and is doing well now.
Friends & Family
We have been so encouraged by friends and family. Thank you for the practical ways you are caring for us! We love you all! This is just few photo highlights of some meaningful moments.