Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you eat or drink…or what you will wear…look at the birds of the air…your heavenly Father feeds them…So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat? Or ‘What shall we drink? Or ‘What shall we wear?…but seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Matthew 6: 25-33 (NIV)
It’s a beautiful day outside this morning, so I’m not at all sure why he, of all people, came to mind. The remembrance dates me, and will date a number of you, too. His caricature began to grace the cover of MAD magazine years ago, and even though I seldom picked one up, you couldn’t help but see the image of Alfred E. Neuman everywhere you looked, and hear the echo of one of his most famous quotes:
But there you have it—Theology at its best. The teachings of Jesus Christ, not drawn this time from the Sermon on the Mount as in part set out by the scripture above in their simplest form, or some of the parables of Christ found elsewhere in the Bible. But here instead in the words of the “reverend” Alfred E. Neuman in full blown and accurate biblical exposition. The rantings and ravings of a cartoon icon on the cover of a psychologically numbing rag. Yet there it is for each of us today, yesterday and tomorrow.
It’s a choice we always have: “Worry” or “Trust God.”
I suspect if we are really honest with ourselves we find that we usually end up consumed more by the former, the latter being just a bit too vaporous to wrap our limited human mind around, other than in half-hearted attempts to demonstrate a faith we are forever striving to understand, walk and live. In our most spiritual moments—in times like worship services, Bible study, prayer time, or when we don’t know where else to turn—we might embrace a moment of “trusting God.”
But if we are really honest with ourselves, those times seem to be less frequent, despite the fact that especially now, times may require it most. The things and decisions of day-to-day living seem too overwhelming, too regular and all too important to trust someone else with them. And so we take charge, and worry.
Will we have enough left for retirement at the current rate of inflation and our projected earnings and spending patterns? Our child is sick and the doctors can’t seem to figure out when, if ever, they will return to full health. The world is in a mess and the chaos and protests in the streets far away seem all too close to us, especially with people wanting to do us in, for reasons and in ways we can’t fathom. We’ve lost our job and our view into tomorrow seems to be dark and cloudy. We’ve lost a loved one and we seem to still be stuck on anger as we go through the five stages of grief over and over.
Trusting God is not the first, second or last thing we are embracing in these all too real moments of our lives. Trusting God may be what we say to ourselves and to others that we are doing, but we’re not doing it. Yet worry seems to be the cornerstone of our way.
But “trusting God” is the only way. To trust God does not require a fatalistic approach to today and tomorrow. Trusting God is not an attitude of “what will be will be” or sitting in the corner in a fetal position whimpering and waiting for the hand of God to pluck us up by our collar. Trusting God is an attitude of seeking Him and His way and His purposes for what is going on in the full spectacle of our days. Trusting God begins with the belief that God loves us. Really—He does!
It begins with an attitude that recognizes that trust in God may mean that He will reset our priorities—we may not like this so be careful before you proceed here—and find that things, wins and images we do and are for the public should and can no longer be important to us. He will begin to guide our steps and bloom within us the gifts He has planted in us. He will place us where He wants us to be—or more firmly plant us and use us where we are. A trust in God will result in our recognition by us that He will use what we do for the Kingdom plan He has for our lives.
Here’s the key: Trusting God is about Him. It is not about us. It’s not about we are going through. It’s not about where we are, or want to be, or what we want to do. Those things may in fact align with His desires for us. But it starts with Him. It is all about Him.
Trusting God is recognizing that He is still there, that he is the focus, of our mind and heart. It’s remembering that He is fully aware of all that we are in the midst of, and that even though it may not seem so clear at the moment, He sees where we are and knows where He wants us to go.
Trusting God is allowing Him to be in the lead, and taking comfort in our past experiences with Him. He never left us and we made it through. Trusting God is believing that He not only knows what is best for us, but is the One Who always wants what is best for us, no matter what we’re in the middle of, are facing or feeling.
All together now… “What—me worry?” No—choose instead to trust God!
For today, tomorrow and beyond—seek first His Kingdom, seek first Him, seek first a life that trusts God.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2011. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.