Devotions on Emotions (and Scripture) by the First Pres Pastors
A reflection on Matthew 6:25-34
5 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
Why pray when you can worry? If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about yourself, what would it be? For me, it would be to worry less. When I think about how much time and energy I have spent worrying, I am struck by how much of a wasted effort that has been. I think back on how most of the things I worried about never came to fruition and even if they did, it was something that I had no control over.
I am blessed with two teenage daughters. Anxiety and worry are a natural part of our household conversations, especially in the middle school years. As my daughters share their concerns with my wife and I, I find myself using this passage from Matthew to reassure them. I tell them that most of what they are worried about likely will never happen. I seek to give them some outside perspective on their fretting. I console them with words about how they are worrying about things in life that they have no control over. I also remind them God is in control. There is something incredibly freeing about that notion. God takes care of all these little things in creation around us and even more so, God cares for each one of us. God’s providential love is such that we are invited to forgo worrying about today as well as tomorrow.
In all this counsel and sage wisdom to my children, I have to stop and remind myself that the same words I speak are important for me to hear. In my own worrying, it is critical to stop and recognize that I am not in charge; that God is control. When I turn things over to my Creator, I can be open to seeing God’s activity and appreciate God’s blessings. Most importantly, if I truly recognize that God is in charge, I am released from the weight of worry and I am free to be content in God’s presence and to graciously focus on the present. Why worry when you can pray?
Gracious God, thank You for being in charge. Thank You for loving us and caring for us in ways that assure us of Your presence in our lives. Thank You for freeing us from the burden of worry. May we claim that promise and that freedom with a response of gratitude and love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.