“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 6-7
“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.” Matthew 6: 31-34
If there were a device you could wear around all day which measured how much you worry, what do you think your average percentage might be? 60 %, 80 %, higher? I know mine would be more than I’d like.
The future’s an interesting thing. We can shape it to a degree, but much of it is out of our hands.
I’ve been thinking that perhaps when we worry, what we’re really saying is this:
God, I don’t really trust that you’re going to come through for me. I know what your Word says, but I want to have the security of getting all my ducks in a row now. Then I’ll trust you.
It’s so easy to reverse the order of Matthew 6:33, isn’t it? Instead of beginning by seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness, we begin by worrying about getting all our needs met.
We make some pretty big assumptions when we worry:
- We assume that the future is more negative than positive.
- We assume that God is relatively hands off with us and we need to make our lives work through our own power.
- We assume that our worry is somehow “productive” or “responsible”.
All of these assumptions are false. But that doesn’t stop us from making them.
At the end of the day, I think worry boils down to relationship. The more we know and trust God, the less we worry. The less we know and trust God, the more we worry. True?
If this is the case, then perhaps the ultimate solution for worry isn’t just to think differently, but to relate differently – spending time in God’s presence, getting to know his voice, being honest with our concerns (1 Peter 5:7), learning to trust him. And with that, taking steps of obedience as he leads so that he can build a track record of faithfulness in our lives for us to bank on the next time the ugly “what if?” rears it’s head.
Then, our prayers might sound a bit more like this,
God, I know you and I trust you. You’ve come through for me in the past, and I believe you’ll come through for me again. Thank you.
How about you? How much do you worry? Do you make the three assumptions listed above? What would it look like for you to know and trust God more deeply in your life?