Recently I was talking with a friend I haven’t seen in a while, and in the middle of answering questions about how my family is doing, he interrupted and asked, “But are YOU ok? I’m only asking because you look kinda bad.” I was surprised by the question - mostly because I had left the house that day thinking I looked pretty good. But I was able to set aside my injured pride for a minute and seriously consider the question. And when I did, I realized that, while I was doing okay physically, spiritually I was exhausted.
As I pondered that, it occurred to me that the reason I was feeling exhausted is because I was worrying about several big challenges going on in the ministry. And that worry was wearing me out. But more than that, it was making me disobedient to how God has called me to live. The Apostle Paul makes this point in Philippians 4:6, where he writes: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.” It doesn’t get much clearer than that - do not worry about anything.
The challenge is that, “not worrying” is much easer said than done. The reality is, most of us struggle with worry at some level in our lives. Whether it’s about money, or health, or kids, or relationships, or the future - there just never seems to be a lack of things to worry about. And if we are to be honest in evaluating where our worry comes from, I think what we’ll see is that it’s because we’ve put our trust in something other than God.
Think about that for a minute . . . it’s easy to find our security in our jobs, isn’t it? But then, when we lose our job, we lose our peace of mind - and we worry. Or it’s easy to find our security in marriage. Then a spouse dies - or we go through a divorce - and we’re left worrying about who we are, and what we’re going to do. Or maybe we put our security in our money. But as we clearly can see in the world around us, there are a lot of ways to lose our money. The result is that we spend all of our time worrying about how much money we have, and how much more we can accumulate.
Here’s the hard truth of life: we can lose our job, our health, our reputation, our spouse, our kids, and some of us even lose our minds. That’s why we can never put our trust in anything that can be taken away from us. Which brings us back to the fact that we need to learn to look to God to meet our needs, because we cannot lose our relationship with Him. When we put our trust in that promise, we can trust God to meet all our needs. And that’s how we defeat worry.
So today, let’s hold on to the truth that God will meet our needs (not necessarily our “wants”). Instead of worrying and stressing, let’s take all of our cares and concerns and lay them at His feet - surrendering to His ability to provide for us, and care for our deepest needs.