I’m an optimistic, upbeat, and positive guy, but if I can just be honest, life has just been challenging lately. Late Sunday night, a circumstance arose and life pretty much ninja-punched me in the throat. The result has been occasional moments of panic (which I mostly keep to myself), feelings of discouragement, and a general, foggy haze of anxiety.
Julia can tell you, I never have trouble sleeping, but I didn’t sleep at all Sunday night. The last numbers I remember seeing on the bedroom alarm clock were 4:43am. My mind was an endless din of questions and possibilities and “what if’s.” I just couldn’t calm my mind enough to let sleep take over.
Have you ever had seasons of life like that where concerns seem to make a nest in your hair?
I am extremely grateful for a solid network of friends who will pray for me and encourage me when life knocks the wind out of my lungs. It’s one of the best benefits of living in community with others, and I am so glad all I have to do is call out when I need them. Yesterday, I emailed a few of them to let them know what was going on, and they were quick to respond with great truth and encouragement that helped give my heart some reprieve.
One of these friends sent me a series of screenshots–tweets from John Piper. Each tweet was entitled “Jesus’ arguments against anxiety.” Jesus’ words were just the truth I needed to calm my storm-weary soul. Each of these points are Dr. Piper’s paraphrase of Jesus’ words in Matthew 6. They are a powerful reminder about why anxiety is a pointless activity.
Rather than worry, we should focus our energy on trusting Jesus to provide. Jesus gives these reasons why:
1. Life is more than food and the body is more than clothing.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” -Matthew 6:25
2. God feeds the birds, and you are more valuable than they are.
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” -Matthew 6:26
3. It’s pointless. It adds not one hour to your life.
“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” -Matthew 6:27
4. If God clothes ephemeral grass, he will clothe eternal you.
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?” -Matthew 28-30
5. Unbelievers are anxious about stuff. And you are not an unbeliever.
“For the pagans run after all these things [...]” -Matthew 6:32a
6. Your Father knows that you need all these things you’re anxious about.
“[...] and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” -Matthew 6:32b
7. When you seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, what you need is added to you.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” -Matthew 6:33
Another good friend sent me the entire chapter of Hebrews 11 yesterday. It had been his morning reading. In it, the author lists example after example of people in the Bible who trusted God by faith alone. The passage concludes by saying that all of them died not having received what they were promised.
That stunned me.
I had read it before, but this time, it really caught me. When crisis arises, it’s an opportunity for faith–not because we have what we need, but precisely because we don’t yet have what we need. I think the greatest reminder here, as yet a third friend and I discussed late into the evening last night, is that what we truly long for cannot to be found in this life. That’s a hard truth, but it is a reminder that we were never meant to be fulfilled by anything from this present world.
So when trials inevitably arise here, I long to be quick to suppress my natural urge to worry and put my faith in the One who will not only provide for my needs, but will ultimately make me whole again when He restores all things. Because when He comes back to fix all the broken stuff, I will have no reason to worry about anything ever again.
Man, I can’t wait for that Day.