“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.” With those, and a few other profound words, Jesus exhorts us to not let worry or anxiety rule our lives. And, as is the case with so many of the statements of the Bible, this is something that is much easier to say than to actually do.
A moment’s glance at the headlines tells us that there is much to worry about right now. Will this insidious virus every go away or will a vaccine be discovered? Will the businesses that have closed or are struggling ever be able to employ people like they used to, or are those jobs lost forever? Will economic uncertainty cause our retirement portfolios to shrink? Will my child be able to go back to school where they can have the environment that they need to learn better? Will our nation be torn apart by factions with different experiences and different perspectives? Will there be violence on our streets?
If this is the condition of our world today, then how can we truly heed these words from Jesus, uttered two thousand years ago in a country several thousand miles away with a culture vastly different from ours? Well, fortunately for us, Hebrews 13:8 states that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” so those words uttered long ago are just as relevant today. But that still doesn’t necessarily tell us how to hold onto those words.
When Jesus told his audience not to worry about their lives, he was talking to people living under Roman occupation, lacking true freedom. Jesus himself knew that his future would include some extremely unpleasant moments, including a physically and emotionally devastating execution. Yet throughout all of that, Jesus trusted completely in God. It was Jesus’ knowledge that God was working in all things to bring about His good purposes that allowed him to not worry.
If God could use the conquering of the Promised Land by the Roman Empire to do good by creating a safe transportation network for sharing the Gospel, can He somehow use the political events of today to further strengthen the disciple-making efforts of His people? If God could use the execution of Jesus to create a way to reconciliation with Him for us sinners, can He somehow use your own personal suffering to deepen your faith or lead others to Him? If God used times of personal hardship around the birth of the Church to help demonstrate our dependence upon God and the benefits of generosity, can He use those same things to remind us of that same important lesson?
If you trust God as the one who was and is and is to come, the one who is the same yesterday and today and forever, then take comfort that He is working just as much today as He was 2,000 years ago. We need not worry, because God’s plan for us is far better than anything we could dream up, and we can put our faith in Him. So, as Jesus then said, seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Peace and blessings – Pastor Aaron