it was saturday night. my mom walked in my room and gave me a “report”. i found out that i have to get a few tests to check myself for cancer and such. there is a very high risk in my family for cancer and heart disease, and due to recent events, the doctors are demanding that i get tested.
due to all of this, i have been thinking a lot about worry and God’s response to it. one portion of scripture has been resounding in my heart:
Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, 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, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (luke 12:22-34)
i realized after reading this verse that God doesn’t tell us “hakuna matata” (no worries ever) when hard times come. instead He does a few things in response to our situation and worry:
- He puts things in perspective.
He asks us “can you do anything about this issue?” He patiently waits for us to realize we have no power apart from Him. by asking this question, Jesus starts laying a foundation of dependency. (john 15)
- He refocuses our gaze.
Jesus also doesn’t tell us to focus on the situation. since we can’t do anything about it, He refocuses us on things we CAN do something about. the rest of the scripture talks about helping and giving out of your need and how it will put your heart closer and more dependent on God.
- He calls us to trust.
Jesus doesn’t say “you have nothing to worry about” (or “hakuna matata”)…instead He comes to us and says “don’t be afraid, I love you. i am pleased to give you what you need…but trust me”. sometimes the hardest thing is not knowing. it would be easy sometimes if God were to say “yes, this will happen” or “no, this won’t happen” but He rarely does this. why? cause He longs for deep trust to be in us and He cultivates that kind of trust through fires and valleys. He doesn’t cultivate trust by “crying wolf” a bunch of times through our lives. rather, He lets us walk through “valleys of weeping” and in front of our eyes, He makes it “a place of springs”. (psalm 84:6)
- He encourages us with His faithfulness and goodness
Jesus is SO interested in our journey and our hearts. He longs to see love that looks like trust produced in us. He gently reminds us that whatever the outcome is (in my case, the test results), He is there. that’s why David said:
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” (psalm 23:4)
i want to encourage everyone that is (as kirk franklin says) “in the struggle” to let God refocus your gaze where it needs to be…on Him and the kingdom. jeremiah 29:11 states:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
all of God’s plans are to give you hope and a future. do you believe it? is it just a scripture to you or is it truth “shut up in your bones”? there is a purpose in suffering and there is a power in trust. will you let Him cultivate that kind of love in you?
i am saying “yes”…no matter the outcome.
what things is God using to cultivate trusting love in your life? how has He shown Himself faithful in your past “valleys”?