- "A Musing Pastor"
Worry, the great faith killer.
Yesterday was a carefree beautiful early spring day. Breezy, warm, and partially sunny mixed with intermittent rain sprinkles made the day fun. I enjoyed our blooming flowers and the bee pictured here did likewise.
It was a day free of worry (for me anyway). Several times, I heard sirens and wondered who might be in danger or in need of assistance. I uttered a prayer and continued to work in the yard.
I can't say I have always felt this carefree. There has been a fair share of uncertainty and concern about stuff. Trials and fear have been part of my life and then later the lives of my wife and kids. We did not immediately become enclosed in a protective sheath when we chose to follow God's call. Right up front, we understood a life attached to God might mean more turmoil and pain and we still trusted that call. Trusting and living in faith does not eliminate concern or fear. Our human nature cannot shut off emotions. It cannot shield the mind from unknowns and the angst that accompanies them. And the mind, perhaps our greatest asset AND liability, seems to always choose the path filled with 'possible' landmines and alligators. Stress leads to muscle strain, which leads to pain and soon the body is a jumble of nerves and dysfunction. We need to reduce stress and fast!
Enter the Almighty. Throughout scripture, God has demonstrated a track record of being there for women and men of all stripes. Both Old and New Testaments are chock full of folks who twisted in fear yet experienced God's enduring strength and presence in times of trouble (Psalm 46). We can tap into this same Almighty God.
There is one who can calm our minds and soul. There is one who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). God can do it. He has promised us victory over things that threaten to rob us of peace and joy. It isn't that God takes strife from us but that he walks beside us as we churn through it. Take a look at this portion of the "Sermon on the Mount" and see if Jesus' words might calm your issues.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-34, NIV)
Several times, the phrase "do not worry" is shared. How many times have we worried about some trial? How many times have we frittered away valuable resources simply because we were unsure of the future outcomes of said trial? How many times have we derailed our faith because we thought worrying would make our situation improve? I have been guilty and I'm sure you have as well. How can we firmly grasp hold of God's promises? What will it take to claim lasting peace and hope?
Maybe finding a place of worship and a place to get involved in a small group Bible study are in your near future. Going it alone is never a good idea. Going with God is the way to go and walking this journey with other believers always increases spiritual strength. Let's identify our fears and let faith in the Almighty dissolve them. Do it.