Friday, July 17, 2015
We're looking at Matthew 6 in dealing with worry, and it'll give you confidence to know that even though God wants life to be about Him, Jesus goes on to stress how important each of us is to Him. He says, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” (verse 26)
When we consider the fact that God isn’t wringing His hands in worry, we wonder why we worry at all. (Tweet that!) Jerry Bridges in his book The Practice of Godliness, writes, “So why do weworry? Because we do not believe. We are not really convinced that the same Jesus who can keep a sparrow in the air knows where our lost luggage is, or how we are going to pay that auto repair bill, or how we can get to our destination on time. Or if we believe that He can deliver us through our difficulties, we doubt if He will. We let Satan sow seeds of doubt in our minds about His love and care of us.” (pg 158)
God loves us so much that He doesn’t want to add low self-esteem to our worry. Jesus assures us that we are very important, even more important than the birds He graciously provides for. He shows His sovereign care by making sure each of His creatures gets all they need. Yes, there is horrible famine, genocide, and poverty in this world, and terrible things happen even to believers, but I’ve heard of stories from imprisoned believers in third world countries of God providing for all their true needs. They could rejoice in His supernatural care—even without the luxury and “things” that we Americans think we can’t live without.
On the basis of verses like Psalm 37:25 (“I have been young, and now I am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Or his descendants begging bread”) and Philippians 4:19 (“And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus”), we know that those who believe and trust in Him will be taken care of!
Mary Whitson Langley, a freelance writer, gave me an interesting perspective of this. She wrote me, “My husband used to call me a worrywart. I worried about everything. I often gave God my cares, but I would take them back by constantly nagging God with my worries. I knew that if one truly believed God’s promises, there would be no need for the nagging or worrying, but it was hard to do.
“Then my husband died a few years ago. Being a twin, I had never been alone, even before I was born. I worried constantly, especially at night. I was lonely and afraid. Then one day I noticed one of those little surveillance cameras you see everywhere. My fears turned to real faith in my Heavenly Father. I realized God sovereignly watches over me like a camera. Luke 12:6-7 tells us, ‘Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.’ (KJV) It is a comfort to know we are always under the surveillance of God’s watchful eye.”
God does watch over us and wants to provide for all of our needs. Of course, for us humans, the problem is that little word, need. Philippians 4:19 assures us, “And my God shall supply all your wants according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Kathy’s version).
You see, God is telling us…
What? You’re saying that verse isn’t correct?
But that’s the way I want it to read. God will supply all my wants…
Oh, all right, you’re correct. That verse doesn’t read that way; it actually says, “God shall supply all your needs…” Big difference, isn’t it? I would prefer that He gave me all my wants, but that’s not what is really necessary. Yet God is so generous that He often provides my needs and my wants. Because He’s in total charge of the universe, He can do that easily, with no great effort.
By the way, maybe that’s why we have a hard time trusting God for our needs or wants. We’re afraid it’s too much effort for Him. We think He’s lost in the snowstorm just like we would be. But let’s be assured that whether He’s providing for the birds of the air or for our needs, both are equally easy for Him. It’s as simple as calling it into existence, like He did the whole universe. No big deal! He’s that big of a God.
My friend and fellow speaker Pam Farrel (co-author of the book Men are like Waffles, Women are Like Spaghetti) told me the following story of how God sovereignly provided the care she needed.
She had been traveling with back-to-back speaking engagements and was exhausted. She looked forward to getting to her destination early so that she could take a nap. But when she arrived at the Denver airport, she was disappointed to learn her connecting flight had been cancelled. She would have to endure five hours in the airport—instead of relaxing in a hotel room. She worried about not being rested for her next speaking engagement, and cried out to God, “This sure isn’t taking care of me! I’m exhausted. Show me what to do, because I’m so tired I can barely think.”
As she walked and prayed she spotted an empty gate with a difference—this one had a door to the outside, which was propped open, letting in fresh air! She felt the Holy Spirit whisper, “There!” Pam created her own lounge chair with her suitcase under her legs and her purse under her head. She began reading, but she was distracted when some birds hopped into the terminal and began to feed on crumbs. Again God’s Spirit whispered, “Pam, remember how I take care of the birds? You’re more valuable than they are!” Pam remembered Matthew 6:26 and heard God continue, “I will take care of you!”
Within a few moments she drifted off to a sweet slumber—in the airport! When she awoke an hour later she felt completely rested and refreshed, ready to handle whatever else God allowed on her trip.
God is in control. He can do anything He wants! He can provide sweet slumber in an airport or in a high-priced hotel. And we don’t have to get upset worrying about whether or not or how He’s going to do it. Joyce Meyer writes, “In verse 26, Jesus commands us to look at the birds of the air. Have you ever seen a bird in a tree having a nervous breakdown? Just as God feeds the birds and animals and even clothes the grass and flowers of the field, so He will feed and clothe those of us who put our faith and trust in Him.” (pg 121, Be Anxious for Nothing)
(Excerpt from Partly Cloudy With Scattered Worries)
(photos courtesy of ambro and stockimages from www.freedigitalphotos.net)