Do not worry

Many people walk our streets wondering how to survive; how to keep a roof over their head and provide food for their family; how to send the children to school and meet funeral expenses when they come. When Jesus says, “do not worry about your life,” we may feel he has no idea what it is like living here these days! He is being totally impractical. I have to worry about my life and my children.

And yet we know that we have to hear his words. Much as we may think it crazy we have to hold his words in our hearts and minds for a moment. “Do not worry about tomorrow. Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap.” It all sounds nonsense but it comes from a revered tradition that we have received and there must be more to it than meets the eye.

“Does a woman forget her baby at the breast or fail to cherish the child of her womb? Yet even if she forgets, I will never forget you.” These words of Isaiah (49:15) give a starting point for seeing ourselves through the eyes of God. The “do not worry” then becomes not a call to sit on one’s hands and do nothing, but to do what one can in the circumstances – always holding to an attitude and firm trust that God will provide.

The gospels are always a meeting point between God and his people. They are not an instruction manual or a tool kit. They are essentially a dialogue in which God speaks and we respond. We speak and he responds. If that dimension of God is not in our lives then we are bound to be anxious and worrying and thinking I have got to solve all my problems on my own. Conversely, if, on our side, we are endlessly worried about things it means that God is absent from our lives, even if we go to church and pray and do all sorts of holy things.

So, worry is a great indicator! If you are a worrier you have a problem. Don’t panic! But do realise that it means you still have some growing to do in the Spirit. Jesus says a hundred times in the gospels, “Do not worry!” “Do not be afraid!” But we hang on to our worries because they give us some kind of perverse comfort. Where would I be without my worries? They are almost part of me.

So these words about the birds in the air are not some kind of pious poetry not really related to Zimbabwe in 2014. They are the searing truth, exposing whether we really are children of a loving Father or just playing at calling ourselves that. The economic and social situation we are in is not just a festering wound of complaint and worry but a seedbed for a deep relationship with our God who reveals himself in Jesus and gives us strength to change our situation.

Post published in: Faith

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