“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food and the body more than clothing…And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?…All the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Luke 12:22-23, 25, 30-32.
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
With the incessant drumbeat of our news media’s message of fear, chaos, and doom, how like God to display His perfect timing, sovereignty and kindness by bringing the passages from Luke 12 to our attention. As I listened to Pastor Davis, a memory came to mind.
As a band nerd, I participated in the yearly Michigan Band and Orchestra Association Solo and Ensemble festival, an event where middle and high school students could play a prepared solo or arrangement as part of a small ensemble before a judge for their comment and score. At that time, this festival was a big deal. In high school, the students that scored well were invited to compete at the state level, and the few who scored the very highest at the state level were awarded scholarships and guest solo performances with professional bands or orchestras from their area. I spent months preparing for this event by choosing a piece of music beyond my ability and practicing it until I was able to master it. I stressed over it, imagined my failure, hoped for success, and lost sleep over it. The outcome of this performance was more important to me than almost anything else in my life at the time.
In ninth grade, I planned to enter four events in the festival; a piano solo, a flute solo, a duet, and a woodwind quintet. For some reason, my band director didn’t submit the entrance fee I had given him for the two solo events I planned to play, and as a result I was never assigned a judge and performance time. I was devastated. My band director felt terrible about his mistake, apologized profusely, but felt there was little he could do for me as he had no authority to make changes to a tightly scheduled day.
Through my high school years, my dad served as president of the school board. He was a very busy, extroverted, highly capable, and a well-liked person who enjoyed making things happen. He was also my ride to the festival that year. When we arrived at the venue and I checked in for my two scheduled ensemble events, he told me “You just go to your warm up room, and I’ll see what I can do about your two solo performances.” While I warmed up my instrument, Dad went on his mission and discovered the main coordinator for the festival that year was the band director he had had in high school. That little connection took care of the problem and at the end of the day, I played every event for which I had prepared, all went well, and the stress I put myself through had been for nothing. My task that day was first, to get ready, and then second, to trust that my dad would work to put together the details I was powerless to influence.
The issues we face today are far more serious than those presented to a stressed girl preparing for a music festival, but how we need to deal with the anxiety these issues produce can be similar. I have days when I let fear win and I lose my equilibrium. On those occasions, I’ve noticed that I’ve let my guard down and failed to prepare.
First, I haven’t started my day with the Word. I need to have the filter of Truth to sort the onslaught of information that confronts my mind.
Second, I forget who Christ is. Col. 1:16-20 reminds me:
“For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent. For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.” God created all things and therefore has authority over all things. All things are subject to Him.
Third, I forget whose I am.
Eph 1:4-5 “…even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will.”
I forget Christ owns me; I am His possession.
Gal 3:13 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us– for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree, so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.”
Fourth, I forget that my life is foreknown and purposed by God. It is His plan that I live in this part of history and in this geographical area. As Mary Westra likes to say, “He chooses and knows our address before we live there.” My purpose is to seek and know God.
Acts 17:26-28 “And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him.”
Fifth, I forget our enemy, Satan, the creature driving evil in our world is a created being, subject to God’s authority, and has been defeated by Jesus’ death and resurrection. I forget Rom 8:31: “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
Finally, I have to decide whether or not I will trust God when what I see with my “natural eyes” doesn’t look good or make sense; when I think my idea is better than His
I need to wait on Him for answers to prayer not yet seen, and I must put off my desire for justice, to wait for His perfect justice given in His perfect time. I need to say to Him, “not my will, but your will be done.” I need to look to Jesus and like Him, set my sight on what is to come, denying myself, putting to death my flesh today in order to gain the greatest reward there could ever be.
Heb 12:1-2 “… let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Leave A Comment