Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.'
Rev. Susan Smith Emanuel Reformed Church
In today’s world we have a lot to worry about. Life is complicated, it’s always changing, and the future can seem so uncertain. To worry means to be anxious and fearful about actual or potential problems. When a friend or loved one is troubled about the future we say “Don’t worry” but those words are easier said than done. Many of us are worried about our health, our finances, our relationships, our children, our jobs, our future, and our world. When someone tells us “Don’t worry” we know they mean well, but they don’t know what we are facing. You have probably heard it said, “If you are going to worry – don’t pray, and if you are going to pray – don’t worry.” What does this really mean? In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus tells us “Don’t worry”.
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not [c]arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Some old sayings are clichés that need to be discarded for greater wisdom. Instead of saying “If you are going to worry – don’t pray, and if you are going to pray – don’t worry” maybe we should say “If you are going to worry – pray more. If you are going to pray – ask for His kingdom to come in your life”. In times of great stress and uncertainty about the future, we need to get on our knees and stay there. Talking about praying or thinking about praying is not going to help us. When we are worried, we need to talk to Jesus, tell him all about it, and ask Him to help us let go of our fear of the future. When we spend more time with God in prayer, we can experience the spiritual freedom of His kingdom that is within us. When we are spiritually free on the inside, we can have peace in any storm because we know that no matter what happens in life the Lord will be with us to help us make it through the valley.
Rev. Susan Smith is the pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church of Lincolnton and she can be reached at 828-962-8196 firstname.lastname@example.org