My Dear Parishioners,
Someone sent me a message that goes like this, “ Worrying is like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain.” While the struggle with worry is not something that is solved by simplistic answers or quick-fix remedies, the Bible offers us perspectives of truth and grace that can help us grow beyond our worries and into a relationship of trust with the God who loves us and cares for us. The Bible acknowledges what all of us have experienced. There are two kinds of worry: (1) a negative, harmful, crippling worry, and (2) a positive, beneficial concern. Interestingly, the same Greek word is used in the New Testament for both.
Negative worry in the Bible is an anxiety that focuses our thoughts either on concerns that we can do nothing about, or on matters that distract us from resting in God’s ability to meet our needs. Jesus mentioned such worry six times in His Sermon on the Mount (Matt.6). He taught His followers to believe that the Father in heaven wanted them to trust Him one day at a time, even for the most common cares of life (vs.25-33). But not all worry is bad. The Bible also speaks of a healthy care and concern that results in meaningful action and prayer. In 2 Cor. 11:28, for instance, Paul spoke of ‘his deep concern for all the churches.’ The word translated concern here is the same Greek word he and other New Testament writers used when urging against self-consuming anxiety (Phil.4:6; 1Peter 5:7). Paul also told the believers in Philippi of his desire to send Timothy to them because he was concerned about their welfare (Phil.2:19-20).
We can put our worries to work for us by letting worry turn our attention to God. When we worry, we are focused on possibilities that have not yet happened or are beyond our control. What we need to see, however, is that this is our moment of opportunity. In the weakness of our fears, we have reason to look for the assurance of God’s presence, for the certainty that nothing comes into our lives apart from His knowledge, and for the opportunity to accept His offer to be our strength, our hope, and our peace, regardless of what happens. This assurance comes when we turn our attention to God’s character. The Bible shows us that nothing can happen without God knowing of it, or allowing it. Ps. 103:19 says, “The
Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.” He is indeed sovereign Lord of all, which means that He is always in charge. When we worry, we are actually acknowledging the truth that in ourselves we are not adequate to meet the demands of life. We really ‘are in over our heads’.
So we can use these moments to remind ourselves of some important truths about God: He is everywhere. We can’t go to a place where God is not. There is no place, no matter how alone we may feel, that God cannot be. He knows everything. God knows how afraid we are and how bad we feel. The more worried we become, the more we act as if God were ignorant of our situation.
We don’t know the future, but God does. He knows exactly how everything is going to turn out. God is all-powerful. Worriers feel that no one has the power to stop the bad things that might happen. Not even God, they think, can keep their teenaged daughter from getting pregnant or their son out of jail. But God has limitless power and His own wise and all-knowing reasons for what He allows into our lives. The answer to the question, “ Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Gen.18:14) is No!
With all good wishes and prayers Rev. Fr. Chris