There are days when it seems like worry has leached itself so firmly onto my heart that it begins to influence everything I do and say and think.
And lately, those days have come all too often.
I worry about my family’s health as influenza is rapidly dropping everyone around us like flies.
I worry about my husband traveling to and from work whenever I see freezing rain on the radar.
I worry about what I am going to make for dinner every night and how long it will take me to clean up the kitchen when dinner is over.
I worry about the mice I see in our garage getting into our house.
I worry about my kids on the rare occasion that they don’t wake up crying in the night, because what if them sleeping through the night really means something terrible has happened to them.
And every circumstance I choose to worry about adds another chain around my heart and mind as unrest and fear are held fast within the deepest parts of me.
As I was reading Matthew 6 the other day as part of my reading plan for this year, I was struck but what is said toward the end of chapter during Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” as He was addressing the problem of worrying.
“Your Heavenly Father knows…”
I’ve read this passage dozens of times, and this same truth is repeated all throughout Scripture. But so often I don’t take the necessary steps to live like I truly believe that.
My Heavenly Father Knows…
He knows about the influenza outbreak.
He knows about the freezing rain.
He knows about the mice.
He knows about my all cares. Every. Single. One.
But worry shuts out truth.
Worry is really all about deception. It fools us into forgetting or doubting the sovereignty and reality of God. When I choose to worry, I am calling into question the very character of God. Rather than rest in the confidence that God is capable, that He cares, that He knows and hears and sees me, I dismiss truth when I cling to worry.
Worry replaces trust.
They cannot coexist. When I worry I am choosing not to acknowledge that God is in complete control. So I try to squeeze myself into His role and take over trying to manage everything myself. When deep down I don’t really want to be in control because I know how incapable I am. But I take the reigns anyway, because sometimes waiting for God’s timing and trusting in Him just seems so hard.
Worry siphons our peace.
There is not a single circumstance in my life that I can look back at and say, “I sure am glad I worried about that.” Instead, I remember those worry-filled days as times when peace felt the furthest away and my heart was in a constant state of tension and confusion. Peace cannot dwell in a life that is consumed by worry.
So what can be done about worry? How can we drive it far from us?
Matthew 6:33 exhorts us to respond to worry by “Seek[ing] first His Kingdom and His righteousness…”
1 Peter 5:6,7 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God… casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.”
Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
What do all of these things have in common? Refocusing our hearts on the greatness of our God! Our Heavenly Father knows…and He cares!
The cure for worry and fear is to fear the Lord. When my time and energy is spent trembling before the power and supremacy of God, I will tremble at nothing else, because He is so far above and beyond all else. I need to remind myself daily that He is in control and submit myself to Him as I wait and trust in Him.
The next verse in Philippians 4 reveals the result of letting your cares be made known to God…“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
This trusting and waiting and submitting fills us with His presence, and draws our hearts into a greater likeness of Himself as we are made more deeply aware of His own heart and will. And in doing so we are brought into a place of greater peace. This perfect peace guards our hearts and minds against future temptation to worry. Oh! That I would turn my mind off of worry and onto the Trustworthy One!
And so today I choose to saturate myself in His Word and the truth of all that He is.
Today I choose to trust in the greatness of my Savior, because He is more than able.
Today I choose to discard any trace of worry and instead dwell in the peace that has filled me in its place.
Today I choose to look at the cross. And there I find all that I need to deep down believe that He knows and He cares, because that is where He gave it all. And as I think of all that He gave for me I find that I can give it all to Him.