Matthew 6:25-27 – 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 important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 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? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (NIV)
"Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength — carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worry doesn't empty tomorrow of sorrow; but it empties today of strength." – Corrie ten Boom
Am I the only one who carries two days at once? A summer ministry that I coordinate provides worship services for seniors in chapels at five recreational vehicle parks in Arizona's White Mountains. I clearly remember, early in 2020 when the COVID-19 crisis hit, having more than one sleepless night wondering if our ministry would survive the year. Did we have enough money to pay our start-up costs? Would anyone come to our services? Would we be able to have services with the restrictions in place? Could we pay the rest of our bills? Could I find a pastor for the one chapel whose pastor retired last year?
Obviously, I wasn't trusting God with any of this. After a few days of worry, I called our treasurer, who assured me that we were in good financial shape to start the summer. Shortly thereafter, God sent us a new pastor. The season is now over: all five chapels met all summer, either indoors or outdoors. Attendance was lower due to people's fears about gathering with others, but we still had much larger groups than I expected, and new residents joined us. Our bills were paid. I worried for nothing.
Can you, like me, look back and remember when you worried ahead? How much time and effort were wasted in doing so? Not to mention the effects on our health — blood pressure, stomach upset, headaches, etc. Nicky Gumbel shares good advice: "Think ahead, plan ahead, but don't worry ahead. Trust in your heavenly Father to provide. He knows your every need. … Make a decision today not to worry about tomorrow. Trust God to provide for you one day at a time."
If nothing else, the COVID-19 season of 2020 has helped me to build my skills in this area. When I wake up in the middle of the night and start to worry, I pray, mentally sing favourite hymns, or remember comforting Scripture. Sometimes during the day, I have to verbalize, "Satan, get out of my head. God, I trust in You." I don't watch television news. I set a reminder on my phone to pray for our nation at 6 p.m. each evening.
I'm working on it, step by step. If this has been a worrisome year for you, what steps can you take to change as you look ahead to next year? Pray with me:
Prayer: Father, I want to trust in You for each and every moment of my day (and night). Give me strength to do that. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Jesus I Come" (Lyrics)