As you know, I like to vary our reading through a book of the Bible with a topic related to our present circumstances. The past two days have certainly been applicable to the Covid-19 era. I don’t want to wear a topic out, but a couple of other scripture passages keep popping into my mind, and so after seesawing between continuing with the next verses in Philippians and looking at these other verses, I decided to stick with the worrying topic for one more day.
So what does Jesus have to say about worrying? Here’s what He had to say in the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 6: 25 – 34 (NLT)
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today”.
The past two days, I’ve been talking about a general sense of anxiety that doesn’t necessarily have a definite root cause. What I’ve said before can be applied to a specific situation, but these verses today are talking about worrying about a situation or problem that is right in our face. Some of us are facing financial hardship. Some of us are having trouble with lives that are so boring and stifling being at home all the time. Or you may be facing a health crisis or a family member with mental health issues. Or you have a difficult marriage situation. There are many specific problems that can be the source of anxiety and worry. Generally, you cope with life just fine with a sense of humour, but this particular problem seems overwhelming.
Jesus’ advice is simple. Realize that your Heavenly Father knows what you need and He will supply it. Jesus tells us to focus on living well and how God wants us to live, and then the other pieces will fall into place. “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Jesus goes on to give the proof for His advice. If God takes care of the birds and makes sure the flowers are uniquely beautiful, then He definitely will take care of His children. I don’t think this advice means that whenever we face a problem that we just sit back and do nothing. We are not robots controlled by God. We are His children created in His image, so we have intelligence and creativity and hundreds of other wonderful assets and skills. So, we can figure out things we can do even though we’re at home. We can seek medical or psychological help. But the bottom line is that we leave the whole situation and all its worrying to God. We consciously hand the problems over to Him and ask His help in figuring out what to do.
“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” I love that statement. My husband loved to tease me by telling me that worrying works. He loved to remind me that all the things I worry about haven’t happened, and therefore, my worrying has been effective. But in reality, all my worrying has only made life miserable for me and for my family who have to put up with my irritability, and it has solved nothing. Jesus is totally right! “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”
There’s another part of the Bible that also speaks about peace. Jesus is talking with His disciples before His crucifixion and ascension to Heaven. He wants to prepare them for the big changes ahead. In a way, He is restating what He said in Matthew when He said, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need”. There is a destination ahead that makes all our worrying about this life here on earth get put into perspective. And Jesus also tells His followers that He won’t be leaving them alone even though He won’t be here bodily. As I end today’s devotions, I want you to read and absorb these verses about peace.
John 14: 1 – 3 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.”
John 14: 26 – 27 “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. 27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid”