What We Really Want
Once we Christians mature a bit and put away childish things; once we pause and reflect and cast aside the tyranny of the urgent; once we unshackle ourselves from Master Money, we realize that we truly want but one thing: joy.
Joy is a pyramid emotion, it sits on a large base of security. It’s something we rarely see outside of children who seem to have it in abundance. It’s closely connected to being care-free. Partly, a child cannot imagine all that can go wrong or that might be going wrong even as they play. But as we grow our fear sensors grow as well and even the ridiculous can terrify us.
And yes, that’s what I want for myself, to be care-free and full of joy. At all times and in all circumstances. I want to walk around with a huge smile on my face just basking in the blessings I’m enjoying, the gifts I’ve been given from my heavenly Father, the beauty of creation all around me on a crisp Spring morning, the laughter of my children, the smell of bacon, the taste of a Cadbury egg, etc, etc, etc.
Worry Takes Over
Except that I ruin all of this by stupidly worrying about stuff:
I worry about my finances because I want to know that I and my family will be taken care of for the next fifty years.
I worry about my wife’s chronic health issues and how that affects her, the children, our finances, and my personal comfort.
I worry about my children hurting themselves or getting some horrible ailment like brain cancer.
I worry about the insanely large national debt.
I worry about the economy and whether or not the stock market will keep my investments growing.
I worry a lot about the ministry paying its bills, about our future, about our ability to be helpful to others.
I worry about my church and how we’re acting towards each other, about our elders and their increasing burdens.
And then when you are a part of a close Christian community, all the issues of your friends become passengers on your ride. So, his surgery, her miscarriage, their attempts to adopt their foster child, all of this is piled on to the pile that is already large and tilting a bit.
And I worry about these things on a regular basis. No, I don’t sit in a pile of my own pity and stew for hours on end, it’s just there like a nagging headache way there in the back. It reminds me it’s there regularly throughout the day. And it drains the joy from my life.
Why Do We Worry?
But Jesus said: “Don’t be this way!”
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:31–34).
Imagine how frustrated you as a parent would certainly be if your small child, whom you had fed faithfully for each of the 1,000 mornings of their life continued to fret about their first meal of the day. What if they sat in their bed and cried each morning, if they made themselves literally sick with worry about this meal. You’d want to scream at them: “I’VE NEVER FAILED TO FEED YOU BREAKFAST, WHAT ARE YOU WORRYING FOR!” And yet it’s possible, because we are sinful and imperfect creatures that we might fail our children in this area. What is not possible is that God would ever fail us.
It has been storming recently in Bristol and my five year old has been frightened by the lightning and thunder. Can I reassure her just the one time? Or do I need to do it every time she hears a rumble? More likely the latter.
Our God was kind enough to write down His reassurances for us so that when the thunder comes we can visit His bosom and be comforted. We need to read and reflect and read again. We need to write His assurances on our walls. Do we realize that this is not just home decoration but soul restoration?
So that we can have the joy that we are called to have:
“But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You” (Psalm 5:11).
We can’t merely read our Bibles, we need to let it wash over us (Ephesians 5:26). We need to spend time in reflection on the wisdom of our Lord who only wants the best for us. “Do not worry about tomorrow” means: DO NOT WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW! I’m going to have to read that all over again tomorrow. But, don’t worry, I will.
Do you have a favorite Scripture to read when you find yourself worrying? Share it with us in the comments below.