“Do not worry . . .”
Jesus says it, those three little words, ten letters in the English language. And He says it often. Sounds so commanding. Why would Jesus command us not to worry? Because we DO worry and because worry steals and kills—two things Jesus does not want for those He loves. Worry steals joy and kills life. Jesus wants to GIVE joy and GIVE life.
I remember my mom saying, over and over, “I’m a mother. I worry.” Like worrying was some badge of honor pinned on her chest the day she became a mother, she talked about worry as if it was a given—like it comes with the territory of motherhood. Having joined the ranks of motherhood sixteen years ago, I have fought long and hard to keep the mysterious and invisible hand of worry from attaching itself to me and sometimes I feel paralyzed in my efforts.
Sometimes I just—plain—feel—overcome.
I remind myself of God’s word. I take in and chew and suck out of each morsel all I can to sustain me in the moment and yet, sometimes, I just can’t swallow. Sometimes, I just don’t believe I’ll be alright and that my loved ones will be alright.
Because maybe we won’t?
Maybe some unexpected, unwanted, terrifying visitors will come knocking. Maybe emotional or physical pain will move in and take over. Maybe some chronic or terminal illness will show up and wreak havoc. Maybe the markets will turn and our life savings will disappear. Maybe our jobs will dry up. Maybe the fields won’t grow because the sky won’t rain or maybe the sky will rain and the fields won’t grow and the prices will rise but our paychecks won’t and we might not be able to eat or drink or make merry like we did once before. Maybe we’ll lose our freedoms and people in distant places will tell us what to do and we won’t like it but it won’t matter because free people gave up their freedom freely. Maybe people we love and trust will turn on us when they don’t get what they want from us and maybe these people will slander and harm us to make themselves look innocent. Maybe there are more maybes? Certainly. One could go on and on because brokenness is everywhere, in everyone. Do we really want this place to be eternal? Do we really want brokenness to be permanent? Do we really think we can fix it all?
So what’s my alternative? Jesus says to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). He says to trust in God and trust in Him (John 14:1). He says to keep proper perspective. This earth is not our home (John 14:2-3).
Really? Do I really believe my life here is but a temporary stop along the way? Along the way to what? How do we stake everything we know, everything tangible, on a belief—a hope—for an eternity that’s better? With so many around who don’t even believe in eternity or God or life-after-death, how do we hold on in the day-to-day?
Everyone must answer their own questions. I can only answer mine with what I know. And here’s what I know.
I know there is a God because Jesus did come to earth and even those who didn’t believe He was the Son of God verified his existence. I know that I’ve never known any human being like Jesus. I know His words are wise and He lived according to His word. He always practiced what He preached. I’ve never known any other who can say the same about their life. Certainly, I’m a hypocrite more often than I like to admit. And after all these years of trying to find Jesus wrong about some little thing, I haven’t been able. So, I’ve come to the conclusion that He’s right about everything and if He’s right about everything then I can trust Him with everything. If He really is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, I can trust my life to Him.
Then, what about worry? If He tells me not to worry, I must be able, with His help. I must be able to control my mind, with His help. Even better than control, I can have my mind transformed (Romans 12:2). With His help, I can have my worried mind transformed into a trusting mind and a trusting mind will trickle down into my heart and grow peace. Yes. Peace is what my mind and heart most want. Peace.
On some sun-bathed lake in a mountain forest high, I watched new life float and feed in peace. Not a sound around, small life and the ones that gave life, they floated together in peace, doing what they were hatched to do—eat and float and rest and just . . . be . . . geese. Nothing more. Nothing less. And little geese don’t worry about threats all that much, do they? They just focus on the moment and on the parent geese who lead their way. And they could sense that I wasn’t coming close to harm. I just wanted to be with them and enjoy them.
Can I let Jesus come that close to me? Can I trust Him, enjoy him, follow Him, find my peace in Him? Can I let Him come close to be with me and enjoy me? He wants to. He wants to come close. Will we let Him? Will we rest in Him and believe—really believe—that, in the grand scheme of things—we have nothing to worry about? Our life is safe in His hands and, though we all must die someday, there’s more—so much more—that even the best that’s here.
I can feel it now. Having placed my mind in the presence of Jesus, having let Him come close, I can feel the peace replace the worry. I’m ready now to go out and face the day, come what may, with Jesus.
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1-2