Monday, February 24, 2014

Do Not Worry

This week's gospel has been called the hardest command in the bible. It is simple. Do not worry. Don't worry about food, shelter, or clothing. Just trust God. Yet we are natural worriers. We worry about everything. Sure we believe God will provide but we just want to make assurance double sure. We want to be prepared. Plus we want more. Good food. Good clothes. Jesus actually says God will not only provide what we need but often provides clothing better than Solomon.

There is just something hard about depending on God. The saints do it. They don't do it because they lack competence. They do it because they choose to be in a relationship so intimate you depend on Him for every breath. We are not just not there yet. We have a hard time even taking small steps in that direction. We get into a place where we want to change something and we can't and it drives us nuts.

We need to be at peace about being at the end of our power. We ask God to help us. He might make the exact change we ask for. He might not. He might choose to have us walk a path we didn't want. We need to be OK with that too. I mean really OK with it.

Like an Olympic athlete who has done everything he can to get a gold medal. Yet he needs more. He needs a little luck. He needs his health. He needs to catch a few breaks during the competition. He prays to God. Does it happen? Maybe. Maybe not. Is he OK with it either way? That is the point of trust. Not that we don't push ourselves to do the best we can. Just that we don't worry that our best won't be good enough. Good enough for what? Winning an Olympic medal? Getting your dream job? Having a perfect family? We give a huge effort but ultimately those things come from God. So ultimately we don't need to worry. He does.

In some ways we don't like to be a burden on God. We know we need Him for some things but we want to make that list of things we need God for as small as possible. It is like we buy into the notion of God as a crutch. We use the crutch when we need to use it but we don't always want to be using it.

With the crutch notion we remain mostly in control. We decide where to go. We might need some help to get there but God is helping us with our agenda. Then we need to worry about failure. Not only does it mean we have failed but God has failed to because He was supposed to be helping us.

What we really have is a gap between what God wants for us and what we want for ourselves. This is a good thing. It means we get to learn what we are really meant to do and to be. It might means God just wants you to pursue another goal. Often it means God wants you to walk through some disappointment, some humiliation, some loss of power or whatever.

We need to grasp that we are not called to an easy life. So we should not worry when suffering looms as a possibility. Some form of suffering will happen. Why worry about it? God chooses the cross we will bear. If we trust Him and don't have any notion that God has promised us a rose garden then we should not be anxious about anything.

The scary part here is that Jesus is talking about the most basic things in life. We are OK with losing our dreams. We know many people do. Yet the basics of food, shelter and clothing? We don't know many people who have lost that. Would God really take those things from us? Do you trust Him? Jesus just says God knows you need them. He is a generous God and would not deprive you unless there was some higher good. Do you trust Him?

If you don't trust God then the devil has power over you. All he has to do to separate you from God is make you afraid that God's road is going to be too hard. It does not have to be hard in reality. It just has to be hard in your mind. The devil is a great liar. If you don't trust God he can mess with your mind big time.

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