Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life. – Jesus
I saw a bumper sticker one time that said, “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”
When I saw that I wondered, “Would that actually make me worry less?” I don’t think it would. The Christian story makes the best sense of our deepest concerns. We refused to accept that our lives are a meaningless blip on and meaningless blue planet in the universe that is destined to blow up or go cold at the end of time. The Christian story makes deep sense for the anxieties that we carry, and Jesus said, “They point you to your need for the living God. He is a kind and compassionate father and He knows how to take care of His kids.”
When I was five years old my 4-year-old brother and I would rise early to plan our day of adventures. We had a vast field in the heart of Texas where we lived while my Dad finished his schooling.
A typical morning, I followed my brother into the bathroom and assumed my normal position of sitting on the edge of the tall claw-footed cast iron bathtub and hung my right leg down to the cold linoleum floor.
That leg dangled in front of a little open-flame gas heater.
My brother was busy doing his business. Cute actually— red-headed, both hands on each side of the toilet holding himself up so that he didn’t disappear into the bowl. We talked, laughed, and planned. My mother was still asleep in bed in the room next to the bathroom.
I don’t remember pain—but something caused me to get up off the bathtub and then I smelled smoke; then stabbing pain on the back of my leg. I went to the doorway to my mom’s room, looked back at my right leg, and saw blue and yellow flames curling up my very flammable flannel pajamas. I also saw my brother, still clinging to the edges of the toilet, eyes as wide as a baseball glove, a look of horror I had never seen on any human face in my five years. Only his little feet and redhead were sticking out of the white porcelain bowl now—screaming.
Then the pain came, and angry flames chased me around in circles in my Mom’s room. She jumped out of bed, grabbed a housecoat, and wrapped my leg to suffocate the fire. Then she went to see what was killing my little brother…nothing…he was just horrified at what he had seen.
We were a one-car family in 1963 and my father was at work. Mom called a neighbor to take me to the hospital. I loved my mom. She was so brave and strong. She was 24 years old at that time. She comforted me and carefully put me into the neighbor’s car, took me to the hospital. The nurses were awesome. The Doctor was gentle, but as they started peeling the very flammable flannel pajamas away from my leg, the pain became intense, I started screaming for the one person who was not there.
“I want my Daddy! Where is my Daddy!” I cried.
“He’s coming, honey,” Mom assured me.
I was laying on my stomach and the way the table was positioned; I could see down the hospital hallway. And I saw a man running. He was swerving and dodging people and gurneys like a running back through an NFL defensive line. The louder I screamed the faster he ran.
It was my Dad.
When he got there, the pain was just as intense as they pulled charred skin away from raw meat and dressed my 3rd degree burned leg. But it was somehow better now. My father was with me.
Your Heavenly Father loves you. Jesus never grew tired of teaching about this love. So He would say, ‘Why do you worry about your life, what you’re going to eat, what you’re going to drink…why do you worry? Consider the lilies of the field, they neither toil nor spin. They never restructure. They don’t attend motivational seminars to release the redwood within them. Yet, look at them,’ He says. ‘Next to them, Solomon looks like he bought his clothes at a thrift shop. Now, if God showers such beauty on the grass, which is here today and gone tomorrow, won’t He clothe you?’
Jesus says, ‘Just think about the birds in the air. They have no fear. They don’t live in worry. They don’t have high blood pressure or colitis. They don’t hoard food or buy a gun. How does it happen they have enough to eat? It’s not by an accident. Every time they eat, they’re being fed by the Father.”
Jesus teaches us what it looks like to trust the Father.
If your life is on fire and burning down before you just pause and imagine what it would be like for you to live, moment by moment, day by day, in the constant awareness of the love of the Father. That God knows about you, knows about your sin, about your junk, and He still delights in you.
You don’t have to worry; you don’t have to live in fear. You can live from moment to moment in the warmth and tenderness of the love of God – and stop the buzzing distractions that we call the world, the crazy race to prove how important or significant or attractive you are.
You are held in the hand of God—if you belong to Him.
You live in the Father-love of God—if you belong to Him.
If you don’t belong to Him—you have something to worry about.