Thursday, April 28, 2016

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” ― Corrie ten Boom

Christ has said some hard things, things that are hard for us to do if we are to measure up to His rather high standards.  Turning the other cheek is hard.  Forgiving those who hurt us and our loved ones is difficult, but Christ has said we have no option here—we have to forgive or God won’t forgive us.  Some of the things He said we have trouble understanding and are still waiting for someone to explain them in ways that we can understand.  But in terms of things Christ said, my favorite response is a quote attributed to Mark Twain, “It’s not the things I don’t understand that keep me awake at night—it’s the things that are crystal clear.”  Amen, that statement sure hits home with me.  Still, I can do some of the harder things easier than some of the seemingly easier requests He makes of us.  It is very hard for me to “Consider the lilies . . .”  Think about that, “consider the lilies?”  What kind of statement is that?  Now, all translations don’t use the term “consider” but it’s the one I like the best.  Can you imagine some of the people on the fringe of the crowd listening to what we call “The Sermon on the Mount” saying, “What did He say?”  He said, “Consider the lilies . . .”  “What does that mean?”  “I don’t know, but it’s what He said.”  I’ve read and studied this passage, so I can’t claim I have misunderstood it—it’s crystal clear.  Christ, the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, is telling me to stop worrying, as if I could.  I thought that becoming human, God would understand us better.  Quit worrying?  We do that the best of almost everything.  Here’s the whole passage, you see if you can read it so it’s not about God wanting us to stop worrying.  “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes.  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
     And why do you worry about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?    So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  (Matthew 6:25-34)
     Okay, I get it.  Don’t worry and fret and stay frazzled.  Christ never said not to plan, not to be concerned, not to get the information we need, or not to act—He said not to worry.  Worry adds nothing to us (as He said) but detracts from us—and we know this, but still we worry.  Maybe because worrying is easier than acting, easier than going to the doctor and getting the truth, easier than getting help, easier than admitting weakness, easier than . . . you get the picture.  We worry because we know how to do it, because we are good at it, because we can.  The Messiah just doesn’t want us to do it because He loves us and knows how bad it is for us.  Since it is Christ Jesus who is asking me to “consider the lilies”—I’m gonna try.  Maybe, if you accept that this is the truth, one of those crystal clear things, maybe you will try to stop worrying, too.  Maybe we will both be better as a result.  It’s worth some effort, so I am gonna consider those darn lilies and maybe help myself some.
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