We get anxious over an endless list of reasons – uncertainty at the work place, tension in relationships, the development of our children, health of our loved ones, rising cost of living, the effects of aging on our competitiveness and our appearance – to name a few.
These factors have their way of weaving into each other, so that they hardly leave any gap in time when a person enjoyed absolute peace of mind. It is no wonder that people have to be reminded, even to re-learn how, to stay happy.
Nobody is spared from worldly concerns. The difference for Christians, however, is what the scripture says about anxiety, and how we are to deal with it.
In the Old Testament, Deut 28:65 – 66 "… you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. "66 You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life." is one of a number of consequences if the people ".. do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name – the LORD your God- .." v58 .
But still, there are many reassurances that God will be with us, his people. In 2Ch 20:17 for example, God's promise to be present was made in the context of Him fighting the people's battle. They were either to be afraid, nor to be discouraged.
Yet, we find it hard to relax, to "let go and let God". At the heart of it, we doubt.
We doubt, for example, if his promises are meant for us. In particular, me. Or you. But to this, I figure that his words, if do not apply to average individuals like you or me, probably do not apply to many other individuals, too. That being the case, the Bible would be quite pointless, would not it?
Or regardless, we doubt that he even notices us out of the billions others crying out to him. When we reason like this, we are essentially trying to put ourselves in God's shoes. But God's capacity is not finite like ours, nor is he easily overwhelmed like we are when our kids make concurrent demands on us.
It is not for us to be considerate and be concerned that he is too busy to handle our situations. His ways are higher than our ways.
It is more helpful to just quieten down, and find a chance to come before him in prayer.
In a typical life scenario, Martha was stressed up preparing a decent feast for the Lord. But it was Mary sitting at the Lord's feet, listening to him, who had chosen the better part. Lk 10: 38-42
When Jesus said "do not worry" in Mt 6:31, was it a casual remark like we commonly uttter among friends, or is it a command?
If it is a command, would not we be breaking it when we fail to will ourselves out of a state of anxiety?
Jesus went on to to explain in Mt 6: 32-34, how the Father knows all of those things we need, and how we are to seek his kingdom first, before summing up by urging us again not to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble on its own.
Since God the Father knows all of those things we need, and Jesus himself acknowledges the problems each day would bring, should not we then expect Their preparation to intervene instead of imagining how out of control situations could turn?
Ordinary people, ie the pre-believers, in hindsight realize how things never turn out quite as bad. For us who love him and have been called according to his purpose, how then can we not be sure that in our situations, God works for our good? (paraphrase Rom 8:28).
By: Ianny Lau