November 14, 2009

Why worry?

There are no chapters, verse numbers, or even punctuation in Scripture’s original manuscripts. These were put in later to facilitate referring to and remembering where to find things. Sometimes these added features create a break in thought that limit my view of the context.

For instance, in the following two verses, I’ve associated the presence of the Lord with the prior command to let my gentleness (or forbearance) be visible.

Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:5-6)
Today’s devotional reading suggests that it also applies to the next sentence. In other words, the Lord is near, so don’t worry about anything.

Whether He is “felt” or not, God is always present. Not only does He promise to never leave me or forsake me, it is His nature to be here. He is omnipresent. There is nowhere where God is not, and for me this is a huge comfort. The Bible says over and over that God is close and that He knows all about me. When I think, He reads my mind. When I pray, He is not just hearing, but helping me do it. He gives me strength when I am weary and lives in me to provide all that I need. I cannot be godly or even interested in spiritual things without Him.

Today I am reminded that being aware of His presence should also keep me from worry. Because He is near, then it’s possible to be “be anxious for nothing.” What could I worry about that God cannot handle? And why worry if He is right beside me?

Today’s reading says that anyone who stews or worries is not trusting God. I have to admit that I was worrying when I got out of bed this morning. I was thinking about unsaved family members and fearful for their eternal well-being. I was not trusting God to do what is right in their lives. Today, that worry was like a big stone in my heart.

The reading says worry and trust are incompatible and that lack of trust in God can indicate I’ve created another god who cannot help me, or that I believe God could help me but He will not — and that means I am questioning His integrity and Word. Oh, that bites.

Instead, I am to be like the psalmist who wrote, “Blessed is the man whose . . . delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).

That means that I need to think about the Word of God and connect it to my daily life. I need to acknowledge and believe that what God says is true and also practical — because I know who He is and how He acts. When I do that, the heaviness goes away and I can say, “The Lord is near, so I’m not going to worry.”

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