“Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?” – Mark 8:18.
Americans tend to make a national sport of being anxious. And we as Christians are no different. We stress, we panic, we fuss, and we fret. We act as though the sun will not set unless we get everything done on our agenda for that day. And when something doesn’t get done in a timely and productive manner, we freak out in direct proportion to how important the project/task is. The Psalmist said it this way, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?” (Psalm 43:5).
I think the reason behind being anxious is that amidst all the activities of the day, we forget that God’s promises, God’s power, God’s grace, God’s providence applies to every situation. The rest of that verse from the Psalms says, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” God’s salvation, of our hope in Him, is the best cure for anxiety, stress, and panic. God is in control.
The Bible is full of stories that remind us that this is not a modern phenomenon. The Israelites, less than a week after walking through the Red Sea, complained that they couldn’t find water, and worried that God would let them die (Exodus 15:22-25). Elijah, having just conquered 450 prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, immediately ran into the wilderness and asked to die when Jezebel threatened to kill him (1 Kings 18-19). The disciples, having just witnessed Jesus feeding 4000 people, started arguing amongst themselves because they forgot to bring along any bread (Mark 8:14-21). They were in the boat with the One who had just fed 4,000 people; and yet they were worried because they forgot to bring along any bread.
I think that this is the fundamental reason why we stress, fret, and worry. We forget what God has done. We think that our problems are greater than God’s vision, our troubles are too much for Him to bear. We worry that God might just not be watching, or is distracted.
Then we read the story of Daniel in the first chapter of Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar was a man of great military and political power. He ruled the nation (Babylon) with an iron fist, and Babylon dominated all other world powers of that day. He was the commander who defeated and destroyed Jerusalem and who led most of the Jews into Babylonian captivity. The people of Judah seemed insignificant and impotent against such a great man as Nebuchadnezzar, and indeed they were. Despite his youth and the obvious pressures to conform, Daniel “purposed in his heart” to uphold the law of God, no matter the cost. Because of his willingness to put God first, God granted Daniel favor in the sight of others.
God has proven His faithfulness, time and time again. We need to remember this at all times. Maybe that’s why Paul, in his encouragement to Timothy said, “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel” (2 Timothy 2:8). We need to constantly remember that He is risen, He is alive, He rules and reigns over us and for us, He holds all things in His hands.
And while everything may not end up well as did Daniel’s resolve in chapter one, we can trust God to work it all out for our good.
1. What are some of the reasons Jesus gives for trusting in God, rather than worrying?
2. Regarding yourself, what do you worry about most? What keeps you awake at night?
3. When do you replace your faith in God with worry?
4. For what specifically are you trusting God? On what basis are you trusting him for these things?
5. Read Matthew 6 which s a continuation of the Sermon on the Mount. In verses 25 – 34, Jesus lays out the stark contrast between living a life of worry and living a life in total dependence on God the Father. It is a choice between trust in ourselves and trust in God. Pray and ask God to help you depend on Him in your life.