No room for worry
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
“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 than food, and the body more 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? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour 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—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.“
These are strange days! I stood in line at the supermarket the other day for an hour, only to find they didn’t have all the things I came for. I was wearing a face mask and made sure the trolley handle was wiped down. I weaved in and out of the aisles, making sure I dodged other customers by at least two meters. I thanked the person at the checkout for working. She smiled and said she really appreciated that.
What world is this? Are we living in a movie all of a sudden? How did we get to a place where we feel left out at the supermarket because we’re one of the few not wearing disposable gloves?
These things, which seemed laughable only a couple of months ago, are now a new normal. How quickly normal changes.
My emotions have changed too. In the past few months, I have gone from ‘interested’ in what was happening to ‘concerned’ about the impact it will have on my family. And now, it’s ‘anxious’ about going to the supermarket and bringing Covid-19 home to my house full of ‘vulnerable people’.
Is it ok to feel like this? Yes! These feelings are normal and most Kiwis, and probably billions around the world, are experiencing the same emotions. I think it’s these emotions that are uniting us across the world. Governments are united in their messaging – stay at home to save lives. Don’t interact with others. Wash your hands. I guess this constant messaging doesn’t help anxiety levels.
But like the world’s leaders, God too has a constant message. He’s broadcasting day and night to everyone, with or without mobile phones and TVs. What’s he saying?
…do not worry…
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
… will he not much more clothe you?
…your heavenly Father knows…
In this passage, Jesus is asking us to set aside the worry that so often consumes us. Instead, he wants us to replace these with thoughts of the Kingdom of God and God’s perfect righteousness. What does this mean? It means making room in our hearts and minds for God in the midst of our worry. The problem is, we’re not made for both God and worry – one has to be disposed of.
I was struck the other day by a sentence in Pastor Tak Bhana’s reflection he wrote about the Covid-19 lockdown. He said, “remember, you are more loved by God than you could ever imagine.” Ask God now to help you imagine how much he loves you. Ask God now to replace the worry with more of himself.
Father God, your Word says you care for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. Please show me how much you care for me. Help me with my worry. Fill me with more of you.