March 24, 2012

Why worry when I can rejoice?

My mother was a worrier. We finally figured out that even though she professed faith in God, she was like everyone else and wanted to control things. She sometimes “supposed” about the unknown so she didn’t feel left in the dark about what was going on, but mostly she fussed about things in her mind and sometimes in her words. Instead of giving the perplexities of life to the Lord, she worried.

Most of us do that in varying degrees. The older I get, the more I find I don’t have the energy it takes to worry. Besides that, God knows all about everything and I do not. It seems far better to let Him do the worrying (even though I know that He does no such thing).

This morning’s devotional offers a few verses about a remarkable woman who worried a little bit, but had greater trust in the Lord that I can ever imagine myself having. Living in a land where their taskmasters were killing all Jewish baby boys, look what this woman did!
Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank. And his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him. (Exodus 2:1–4)
This couple was Amram and Jochebed and the child was Moses. He was born at that time in Jewish history when the nation was in slavery in Egypt. These people were also prolific and the Egyptians feared they would rise up in rebellion. So they ordered all new born boys put to death. God had plans for Moses, but Jochebed didn’t know that. All she knew was that this was a special child and she wanted him to live.

Could I put my baby in a basket and set it in the river? Could I trust God to take care of the child from that point? This woman had no control over what happened next. She sent Miriam, his older sister, to watch what happened, but other than wanting to know the outcome, everything was out of her hands.

How much of life is like that? I’ve used the term “control freak” and often said, “It’s a control thing” but when analyzing the way people try to control by fussing, myself included, our attempts to manipulate life are usually laughable. If carried far enough, this active form of worrying can ruin our health, spoil relationships, even erode our faith.

God has another answer. I’m sure that His Spirit worked in Jochebed, for no ordinary woman would be able to do what she did without faith in the Sovereign One. He is able to do great things, and somehow she must have known this truth. God is near, do not worry. This is plainly expressed in the New Testament.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4–7)
This mother of Moses was likely anxious, but instead of letting that control her, she no doubt brought her requests to God. In the peace that only He can give, and with a guarded heart and mind, she did the only thing she could do; she yielded control of Moses’ life to Almighty God.

According to these verses from Philippians, doing that is “reasonableness.” It is a mild, gentle and appropriate action that follows faith. It may not make sense to an excessive worrier, but if I am fully trusting God, then it is reasonable to put my concerns in His hands, even lay them into the river and stand back, watching to see what He does with them. When I do, He gives a peace that is beyond understanding. I’m not sure about Jochebed, but after only one experience of this peace, my heart can mock the silly idea that I can control anything by worrying.

Oh Lord God, there are plenty of things a person can worry about. Life is filled with threats, problems, and what ifs. However, You are Sovereign. I seldom understand what You have planned, but I do understand that I am mostly helpless AND that nothing is too difficult for You. “Don’t worry, be happy” is a silly song and a pat answer, but when considered in the light of Your grace and power, no worries and rejoicing always is a totally reasonable way of life.

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