One of my favourite songs of late is I’ll give thanks by Housefires. It has this beautiful refrain: “God’s not worried…why do I worry?” Seven simple words that prompt an immediate self-examination whenever I hear them. Sometimes, life can seem like a series of experiences designed to induce worry. In truth, many of us can’t remember when we didn’t have something to worry about. At a global level, very few are exempt from the ongoing chaos created by geo-political tensions between nuclear superpowers amid an economic crisis. Despite advances in civilisation, a significant number of people around the world still lack food, water, shelter and access to health care. With a global cost of living crisis, that number is increasing as many struggle to pay their bills and meet their financial obligations.
Anyone capable of rational thought is no stranger to worry. While our tendency to fret may seem inherent, it’s important to remember that Adam and Eve had nothing to worry about before Genesis 3, and in heaven, no one worries. Something happened when Adam sinned that introduced fear and anxiety to humanity, and Jesus came to mend that rupture in our relationship with God. Science endorses worry as a natural response to situations beyond our control, but God calls His children to live supernaturally. So unsurprisingly, in His most popular teaching on Christian living, Jesus addressed worry in light of our relationship with our heavenly Father [Matthew 6:25-34]. Sadly, many of us who follow Jesus fret about life. So, when we encounter those verses, we may either dismiss them or feel guilty for violating an unequivocal prohibition. Neither of those reactions is helpful, and they aid the devil’s agenda. I haven’t met anyone who enjoys fretting yet. So, assuming that most of us despise the feeling of fear and anxiety, how do we overcome worry?
In the sermon on the Mount, Jesus linked worry to faith [Matthew 6:30]. In essence, how much we worry about the vagaries of life is evidence of how much we trust God. Elsewhere, Peter stressed that peace, the opposite of worry, is multiplied through the knowledge of God [2 Peter 1:2]. Interestingly, as I reflected on the lyrics of the song I began this blog with, it struck me that Jesus never worried. We can’t attribute that to Him being God either because He emptied Himself of His divine privileges to become fully man [Philippians 2:5-8]. So, a worry-free life is attainable if we know and trust our heavenly Father as Jesus did. Faith in God isn’t blind. True faith relies on knowledge – a revelation of God, His nature, character and promises concerning your situation. For instance, when Jesus faced a crowd of thousands of hungry listeners [John 6:1-15], He knew His Father would supply His every need [Philippians 4:19]. In other words, He believed His Father would feed them because He was doing His Father’s will, so He didn’t fret. That’s the mindset Scripture instructs believers to possess [Philippians 2:5].
Another passage that comes to mind as I listen to I’ll give thanks is Revelation 4. John’s visions take us behind the curtain to witness the order and tranquillity in heaven amid turmoil on earth. Regardless of what is going on in my life or the world, it helps me to remember that God isn’t pacing around heaven perplexed. God’s just not worried about any of it. He wouldn’t be God otherwise. He desires all His children to be as confident as Jesus in His love and care for us [Luke 11:13]. That’s a growth area for me, and I’ve realised that a theoretical knowledge of God won’t suffice if I want to live a victorious life. I need testimonies of God’s faithfulness in my life, and that implies finding myself in tumultuous situations where I’m utterly reliant on God, yet at peace, because I know He won’t disappoint [Romans 10:11]. In a worry-stricken world, that would be an attractive witness to those observing my life [Acts 1:8, 2 Corinthians 3:3].
Worry is a symptom of a gap in our knowledge of who God is and His thoughts towards us. That truth motivates me to address my spiritual ignorance because I genuinely want to experience stress-free living. Imagine getting to heaven and realising you could have enjoyed a much better life if you had mastered the root cause of worry. No wonder Jesus was so attractive to many. Who wouldn’t want to live like He did? Lest we forget, Jesus walked the earth at a time when His homeland was under Roman occupation. The Romans oppressed and taxed the Jews heavily, so there was a lot of misery on the streets. Yet, Jesus exempted Himself from the surrounding chaos through a body of knowledge which undergirded His faith in His heavenly Father. That same knowledge is available to us in God’s word today. If we courageously hold onto God’s promises and walk in His precepts, God will guarantee our success irrespective of our surrounding circumstances for His name’s sake [Joshua 1:7-8, Psalm 138:2].
Life is difficult. We have no say in some of the hardships we encounter. However, some of our trials come when we dare to trust God, and those can be difficult to accept. But in both cases, worrying is a choice that points to a malaise in our faith. So, I encourage you to decide to address the reasons behind your distrust of God. For many of us, our unbelief stems from insufficient time in the Scriptures or a failure to meditate on what we read until it becomes faith-inducing revelation [Romans 10:17]. These are all things within our gift to address. If God’s not worried, we shouldn’t be either. That’s a privilege bestowed on us as His children [John 14:27]. What a shame if we ignore it and give our enemy an advantage [2 Corinthians 2:11].