“The mind that is anxious about the future is miserable.”
~Lucius Annaeus Seneca
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
I was reading in my daily devotional this week. Topic: “He Cares For You.” Title: “The Sin of Anxiety.” I thought of a number of friends going through a wide variety of extremely challenging circumstances yet how each of them are facing and responding to them differently. I thought about my own challenges. Yet, in every circumstance no matter how great or small, I was struck that anxiety IS sin.
1. When we are anxious we are not trusting God. Read Matt. 5:25-34 — how can we, after reading that, think that God won’t care for us? If we don’t we have unbelief in our hearts.
2. We do not accept God’s providence when we are anxious. If He is conducting the universe, the earth, our lives, and counts the very hairs on our heads, and wants only good for His children, then why should we worry?
While reading this I remembered a new friend I met recently in Europe. She’s been a missionary in Czech for over 16 years. A crisis in the family has struck the very core of what would be anyone’s “WHY GOD?!?” — yet she did not ask that question. She prayed and praised and prayed and surrendered to His will that this was His story for her and for her family. I was humbled at that response and thankful, so thankful for her example. It’s not one I would get to see, normally.
It strikes me extremely peculiar that American Christians have such high percentages of stress-related illness when we have it “so good” compared to our brothers and sisters in the “10/40 window” and elsewhere who endure far worse, yet experience great joy and absence of real anxiety in spite of such poverty and persecution. Hmm…
Perhaps they have grasped the truth of God’s word? Perhaps they are content to BELIEVE that God’s providential will for them in their circumstances flows from His wisdom and goodness and is ultimately intended for their good? Do we? I love this from Tara Leigh Cobble in her book, Orange Jumpsuit: “I have come to highly value my friends who walk through life with a bit of a limp.” She also says, (and I highly recommend this book!):
In that great void, I found myself grappling for only one thing: Him. Deep aches are a cave in the soul–and when you’re in the dark, you don’t care what the light reveals, you just want the Light. Had God not been juxtaposed against the desires of my heart, I would never have seen that He was the truest desire of my heart. . . . I know that I am not guaranteed a life without suffering. I’m only guaranteed that He has equipped me to suffer well.
I have not had to deal with a situation as serious as my friend in Czech. I do not believe that I will always be able to say that. I pray that I will be able to respond with the wisdom, trust, submission and joy that she has. I pray that I will “suffer well” and not be anxious for anything. Why should I not? God is good. ALL of the time.
Let’s ask Him to give us a heart that is submissive to His providential will, regardless of our circumstances, small or big.One more quote (this from Matt Chandler): “The message of scripture and the Gospel of Christ is not that in following Him everything is going to go right, but that He is enough, no matter what happens.”