(December 13, 2022) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share…
Unfortunately, some Christians worry instead of trusting Almighty God!
Yes, we should certainly be concerned about troubling matters that arise from time to time… but there is a huge difference between being concerned (taking responsibility to correct matters) and worrying!
Paul gave good advice in Philippians 4:6 – ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.’
1. Don’t worry –
Message Bible is very direct: ‘Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.’ Complete Jewish Bible charges: ‘Don’t worry about anything.’
It’s almost Christmas when we celebrate the amazing coming to planet Earth of Jesus in physical form – the incarnational birth of the one who would become our Saviour.
If anyone had cause to worry, be anxious, fretful, troubled it was Joseph and Mary! But they didn’t: they trusted God completely and, as we say today, went for it – God’s way! (See Dr Richard Winter’s The Unsung Hero of Christmas and Geri B’s Mary – What an Incredible Lady).
The KJV says to be ‘careful for nothing.’ Sort of old-fashioned English, but ‘careful’ is merimnaō – anxious, and ‘nothing’ is a combination of three words: mēdeis, mēdemia, mēden, which a memory from Bible college daysrecalls the very positive modern quotation of meaning ‘no, not, nothing!’
No wonder Peter directed us to ‘Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you’ (1 Peter 5:7).
2. Don’t wrong-road –
Good advice from Peter… but unfortunately we tend to –
- Not trust God fully!
- Hang onto the problem!
- Try to work things out our way!
- Hesitate to promptly obey!
- Remain in dismal land!
- Want answers immediately!
- Get stuck in a quagmire!
Rather than let the anxiety go and trust God, we tend to worry… even after we’ve prayed! And so we allow ourselves to go down the wrong road, one of worry, concern, doubts, fear and such! It can become worse!
This could have happened to Maureen and me recently due to an out-of-the-blue illness that hit her and she had to be rushed to hospital!
But instead of going down a wrong road into what could have been a panicky situation, I turned to the Lord. It is so comforting to know that Jesus is not caught unawares when something happens to us and doesn’t know what we’re going through! I quickly prayed over my darling (one of those Abba-Father prayers – see Heeeeelp Holy Spirit) and phoned emergency. In short everything worked out okay, PTL!
3. Don’t forget –
Mentioned Christmas above – Yes, celebrating the real reason for the season brings joy… but Jesus is no longer that little babe of Bethlehem; He’s the great intercessor, the advocate who cares so much and ever intercedes for us! (Hebrews 7:25,1 John 2:1).
Dear worrier – don’t you think that our blessed Lord cares so much when things go amiss? He cared for Lazarus, the lady who dared touch His garment, Peter’s mother, the widow’s dead son, the lonely woman at the well, little children (see Hurting-kids-hear-their-cry-herald-Jesus-love), the list goes on… He cares for you, wants you on the right road, trusting Him, not worrying!
- Romans 8:34-5Mge is so comforting: ‘The one who died for us – who was raised to life for us! – is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not…’
- Proverbs 3:5-7 is a gem: ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.’
Message reads: ‘Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God!’
4. Don’t miss –
Running on that right road with God. Don’t miss it! It means…
Completely depend on God to totally handle worrying situations. Do your part… pray and whatever you have to do. Then have confidence in Him to do His part!
Personally, Maureen and I know that we know that we know that we can leave burdens, challenges, uncertainties and such in God’s capable hands for He has repeatedly proved that He cares for us and has brought us through every problem we’ve encountered.
That old Stuart Hamblen hymn is another gem:
‘It is no secret, what God can do.
What He’s done for others, He’ll do for you.’
Experience reminds us that those lines refer to more than sins being forgiven and forgotten! Jesus cares for us in every way!
Proverbs 4:23 speaks of the heart as the centre of our being: ‘It is the well spring of life.’ The heart has decision-making power – it’s the centre of one’s intellect, emotions. Centring on God with all our heart is to do so trustingly with our whole being – our life!
Once we’ve experienced His love and care, we’ll know within that He will never let us down, leave us nor forsake us! (Hebrews 13:5).
We can’t always fully depend on our own judgment no matter how wise or clever we may be! Avoid traps caused by our own limited understanding!
The only all-wise one is our God! He knows the best way to work out matters that trouble us; knows how to bring us through every situation. Rely on Him!
We should always acknowledge the Lord in everything we do and experience! That’s an important part of trusting, honouring and worshipping God.
This also means looking to Him every day for direction and provision. In all our ways… thoughts, considerations and proposed actions. We can come before Him and ask the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
God promises to guide us in a clear straight line – even when to natural eyes the road ahead may appear potholed, twisting and dangerous!
In Matthew 11:28, Jesus offers comfort: ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’ He invites everyone who is troubled with life’s problems to come to Him. We can approach the throne of grace with confidence, knowing that He is able to do more for us than we might ever ask or think!
5. Don’t miscast –
When facing difficulties too great for us to handle, God invites us to cast (literally ‘throw’) all our anxieties (worries) on Him because He cares for us.
That’s 1 Peter 5:7 above and we need to realise three things here –
- Cast… epirrhiptōa – a fisher’s strong-arm action… casting far out into the sea ‘away out there!’
- Anxiety… merimna – any distraction, trouble.
- Cares… melo – deep concern as in ‘It matters to me because I interested in you.’
Wow! Our creator God is interested in us, concerned about us! What an invitation! He’s willing to take on our burdens and help us through every situation.
Let’s ensure that we’re not only good ‘people fishers’ as far as witnessing is concerned (Matthew 4:19) but that we’re also strong at really throwing those worries away and not quickly reeling them back in!
Jesus cares for you and is willing to make a difference in your life. It’s so encouraging to know there is an antidote for worry: Develop a relationship with the one who can supply the answers.
6. Don’t forget…
Yes, do celebrate the real Christmas and thank God for His amazing gift – His Son Jesus who would become our Saviour.
But don’t forget to celebrate something else – that the babe of Bethlehem grew into a wise and caring teacher. Luke 2:52 records: ‘Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.’
The adult Jesus comforted worriers: ‘That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?’ (Matthew 6:25-27NLT).
7. Don’t time-waste!
Worry is a thief, a time waster!
So… why worry? Have a relaxed, meaningful, Christ-centred Christmas – without worries! And move ahead… along the right road into 2023!