Our little guy loves his food. Every day, around meal time, he starts to whinge, expressing his hunger and concern that he may not have something to fill it. His older sister, in her 3-year-old wisdom, has learnt to rely on the fact that each day, around the same time, she will have a meal. She rests peacefully in this knowledge and she knows she has nothing to be anxious about (apart from perhaps what vegetables she will be confronted with) when it comes to her daily meals. Often, watching this scene repetitively play out, I’ve thought about my anxiety levels and wondered if I look like a little toddler frantically trying to control my world, when I should be able to peacefully trust that my Heavenly Father holds everything in his hand.
In Matthew 6:25-34, we read:
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Somedays though, it seems there are so many things to be anxious about- there are jobs to do, bills to pay, wisdom needed when disciplining children, purchases to be made, food to be cooked, health scares, futures to be controlled (anyone?)… Yet in our anxiety, what really is being accomplished? As we flit about, this way and that, dwelling on our anxieties over things we can’t control, are we adding a single hour to the span of our life? (v. 27)
Verse 33 shows where our eyes and focus should be- we should be looking to eternity, seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, not on the cares of the world and our circumstantial comforts.
Jonathan Edwards has been quoted as saying:
“God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of him is our proper; and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any, or all earthly friends. These are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean.”
― Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 17: Sermons and Discourses, 1730-1733
As we go about our day, may we remember that the cares of this world are but shadows. One day we will see the Son and all will be made known (1 Corinthians 13:12.) So, in the here and now, let’s pray for surrendered and trusting hearts. As we pursue God and his glory, may the anxieties and things of this world grow a little dimmer and may we look with excitement, assurance and trust to our Heavenly Father who sees all, knows all and provides all we need.
Photo Credit: CC, Stefan Berndtsson “Pilfink_p9858”