For a meeting the other night, I was led to read for our devotional a portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, a portion which we all needed to hear:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:25-34)
I’ve read the passage, of course, dozens of times. But it certainly takes on greater meaning when read during a period of uncertainty and transition.
No one, I have long held, is able to stop worrying. We cannot “turn off” the worry button. What the passage asks us to do is to look to the abiding and unfailing love of our Father. When we do that, and see that he has loved us to a degree in his Son that we cannot measure, worry of its own fades to the background.
When I read it, a memory was triggered, a memory of some lines from an old Phil Keaggy song. The lines (dredged up from some deep part in my memory and reproduced here, perhaps imperfectly) may not be original with him, and they will never be mistaken for great poetry. Nevertheless, they drive my heart to where it needs to be:
Said the robin to the sparrow,
“I would really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so.”
Said the sparrow to the robin,
“Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me.”