Matthew 6:27 – Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (NIV)
One of the saddest experiences that I ever had took place in a psychiatric ward in Scotland. I was stationed there for six months as part of my seminary training. The ward was locked because it was full of deeply disturbed patients who were a danger to themselves and to the nurses who cared for them.
There was one old lady who had to be constantly attended to. She was always shouting, and it usually took two nurses to calm her down. She had been a very wealthy and extremely beautiful woman when she was young. For most of her life, she had been well known in the upper circles of society and had enjoyed a rich and lavish lifestyle. Those self-indulgent years had taken a toll on her, and one day, as she looked in the mirror, she realized that she had aged considerably. Her beauty was gone, and her wealth was diminished. She suffered some sort of mental breakdown, which resulted in her being institutionalized.
All day long in the psychiatric ward, she would look at the mirror and bewail the fact that she was aging. "Can't you see?" she cried out, "Can't you see that I'm dying? Are you stupid, don't you see what's happening to me? I'm dying!"
I felt sorry for that lady. Her vanity led her to value her life by her outward appearance and financial resources. Instead of developing a beauty within and fostering a Christian faith in the eternal things to come, she based her life on the here and now. When old age came to her, she wasn't prepared to accept the inevitable, and no matter how much she fretted, worried, or protested, she could not add a single hour to her allotted span.
Life is beautiful, but faith is eternal. Beauty is skin deep, but hope is soul deep. Riches and wealth are temporary, but the crowns of glory last forever. We cannot add a single hour to our earthly life, but Christ can put eternity in our spirits, if we let go of all our worldly anxieties and cares by placing our hearts and lives into His hands.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You know our deepest fears and personal worries. You offer to take our burdens by letting us cast our cares upon You. Help us this day to put all that concerns us into Your caring hands. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.