We live in perilous times. At the time this is written, the future is uncertain. The police can’t be trusted. We can’t trust the integrity of our political leaders. The economy is crashing. The pandemic continues to ravage the planet…
The more I think about these things, the more anxious I become. I can get myself pretty worked up thinking about the future and all that could very well transpire given the way things are going, and I suspect I am not the only one. So many of you out there are already struggling financially. So many Christians are already being persecuted. So many of God’s beautiful children with dark skin are suffering discrimination and worse…
Sure, we are told to, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Phil 4:6 ESV); but given everything that is currently going on in the world right now…And I can only imagine how much worse things might already be by the time you are reading this devotional… How are we supposed to not be anxious?
Let’s remember, however, that when Jesus said, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34 ESV), He wasn’t speaking to good times when everything seems to be going well in the world. Didn’t He say, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 ESV)? No, rather, He was very much speaking to times such as these!
But just how do we not worry in the midst of what’s going on right now?
Jesus isn’t about to tell us to do something without being willing to equip us to do it. He does, however, require just a bit of cooperation on our part. In the same passage where He tells us to not worry about tomorrow, He also outlines our responsibility: “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.” (Matthew 6:31-33 ESV).
Thus, there is only one way to follow the command to “not worry”: We have to surrender the future to God, ever trusting that He has it under control – and He truly does! But how do we surrender the future to God?
Just a few verses earlier in Matthew 6, Jesus gives further instruction as to our responsibility: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19 ESV). We are also instructed to focus on thoughts on God and on the blessings that He gives us: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8 ESV).
The way to surrender the future to God, friends, is to focus our sights on Jesus!
Remember: there is nothing our worrying will ever be able to do to change even the tiniest bit of history. All it does it bring about our own anxiety and depression, and as such, rendering us ineffective in the Kingdom of God. And isn’t this exactly where the devil wants us to be? Mighty warriors behind a picket fence of anxiety? Powerful intercessors stuck in the traffic jam of depression and worry? Yes, it is understandable that we become anxious in such perilous times; yet when we do, we are stripped of any weapons we might have to work towards a better, brighter future.
Are you feeling anxious? I urge you to focus on the good. Focus on Jesus, and surrender the future, along with whatever it is you are anxious about, into God’s very capable hands; then be prepared to take up the weapons God gives us (See Eph. 6:10-18), and “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:12 ESV)!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two adult boys, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, The Illustrator, a four-times-a-week internet newsletter, and the Sermon Illustrator website, all with Answers2Prayer Ministries.