Although I’ve spoken to various people this week who seem to be taking this situation in their stride, there are nevertheless lots of reasons to be worried, and anxiety will be a battle for many of us.
Jesus has some really helpful worry-wisdom for us…
Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)
Your worries aren’t meaningless
Jesus didn’t say ‘don’t worry because there is nothing to worry about’. Worrying when there is nothing to worry about can be a problem for us; but that is not the issue Jesus is talking about here. He is talking about the fact there is real ‘trouble’ in our lives – and plenty of it. We can’t just dismiss worries with a breezy ‘chill out, man’ – not when the trouble is a real problem.
You are in danger of worry-overload
But we are in danger of being swamped by our worries. Someone said “Worries can be born in the past, live in the future, and invade the present”. Our worries about everything can overwhelm us. This is made worse by the fact that we have access to a whole load more bad news than our forefathers ever did. I find it essential to limit my news intake each day – there’s only so much of it my heart and mind can absorb on top the issues in my own life. Jesus tells us to watch out for worry overload – ‘tomorrow will worry about itself’. It sounds like the sort of thing you might read in a shallow self-help book. But it’s not shallow advice; Jesus was the one who said it, and therefore there is profound wisdom in it.
You need to focus on today
So narrow your focus. ‘Don’t worry about tomorrow’. In other words, ‘Today’ is a skill that the Lord is keen for us to learn. But like all skills, it takes practise – it’s not easy at first. The LORD had to train the people of Israel to think this way in those difficult days after they’d been rescued from Egypt. They faced years in the desert with no food supply. And the LORD’s answer was to give them bread from heaven, ‘manna’ – but only enough for one day at a time. ‘But what about tomorrow?’ they must have anxiously wondered. God was training them to trust Him. They knew he was trustworthy – hadn’t he just rescued them? So now he was teaching them trust Him one day at a time.
What’s worrying you?
Write it down. Then put a circle around the immediate items, today’s issues, and turn those worries into prayers. We have a heavenly Father who knows what we need (Matt 6:32). And by all means share your worries with others – use the telephone! – but then pray about them together.
With Love in Christ,