These are strange times we are living in. I find myself reaching for my phone to check headlines much more frequently. I scan Facebook looking for reports from friends about the state of the grocery stores. Sometimes in this digital age, information feels like protection, like control. If I know more of what's going on I will know what to do, I will have control.
It's a mirage.
In our thirst for control and stability we grasp for it, but it was never there to begin with. No matter how much toilet paper we have stockpiled or the amount of hand sanitizer and Lysol we use, we do not have control. Everything earthly we put our trust in can be gone in a moment. Our lives are finite and we find ourselves numbering our days.
Anxiety creeps in. Fear creeps in.
"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?"
Jesus spends a whole portion of the sermon on the mount dealing with our anxiety. The practical anxieties that keep us up at night because, well, they seem really important! I mean, aren't what you will eat, drink, and wear pretty much the bottom layer of good ol' Maslow's hierarchy? Don't we need to get this stuff figured out before we move on to spiritual things?
"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?"
Yes, but Lord... what if the grocery store doesn't have what's on my list? What if Walmart doesn't have a pick up slot? What if I get sick- what will we do?
"And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?"
Well, that's true but...
"...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."
The Father knows. That is the crux of my struggle to grasp for the mirage of control. Do I believe, truly know deep down in my gut, that my Father knows what I need? That He is a good Father who cares for His children? That I can trust Him?
"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
Seek first. In this time of isolation and anxiety and disruption of our schedules, will we allow other things to slip into first place? Will I seek Him first - not just first chronologically in the day, but will I give Him priority? Will I choose to reach for my Bible before I reach for the headlines? Will I consciously choose to turn on worship music and sing praise to Him when my heart is tempted to worry? Will I rest in the truth that He is big, He is great, He holds all things so I can embrace my frailty and rest in His loving hand?
The battle will continue. In the midst of times of peace and rest worry knocks on our heart's door. What if I don't go to the store today and tomorrow...
"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
Yes Lord. Teach us to rest. Teach us to seek You first. This is the walk of faith- believing what You say beyond what our eyes can see. You are big enough to trust.