Stressing

I was experiencing some tightness in my chest last month and I couldn’t figure out why. But after our first worship services in the wake of the pandemic, it was gone. I had been having all kinds of psychosomatic daydreams about what the problem could be and here I was just stressing about a new kind of worship service. Once I figured out what I was worrying about though, I knew I could hand it over to God.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6:34

Regardless of disposition, this is a hard command. So much of life is beyond our control and worry dogs us. On top of that, I have ever had the suspicion that Jesus’ intention was not to make of His people, a pack of vaguely spiritual types with as much sense as a plague of pigeons.

In his book, The Seaboard Parish, George MacDonald articulates the distinction between worry and planning:

“If the known duty of to-morrow depends on the work of to-day,” I answered, “if it cannot be done right except you think about it and lay your plans for it, then that thought is to-day’s business, not to-morrow’s.”

So I need not worry about the necessity of planning, as though the very act were making me less connected with God. In fact, James will, in the fourth chapter of his epistle, encourage us to submit ourselves to God in the act of planning. Here we come back to Jesus’ point.

Worry is our attempt to deal with an uncertain future on our own. Jesus tells us that task is beyond us. Rather, we are invited to so deepen our relationship with God that we can find peace in the trustworthy arms of our Heavenly Father.

Often people scoff at the multitudinous commands in Scripture, so many of them seemingly beyond our capacity to obey. But how many of them are just as this one here today? It is an invitation to a relationship of confidence in our Creator.

Lord, draw near to me. Calm my fears. I lean on you.

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