by Josh Hughes
I woke up this morning thinking about my to do list. My seemingly endless litany of stuff that needs doing. As I walked downstairs toward the precious coffee pot, my brain was inundated with thoughts of budget planning for the church, yard work around the house, soccer practice, fence repair, etc, etc. I’m sure you have your own list.
As I neared the bottom step, my ear caught an unfamiliar sound. It was the sound of water spraying. And seeing as we don’t live at a water park, even a man of my limited skill at home repair knew that we had a problem.
A quick investigation revealed that one of the lines from our hot water heater had sprung a leak at some point during the night, and our laundry room had been temporarily converted into a sauna. Not ideal.
Now, in the grand scope of human experience, and in light of what many people in the church are facing, this is a relatively low-grade crisis. But can I be totally honest? I was stressed out.
At the Hughes house we have a strict “Don’t Freak Out” rule. Katie and I remind each other of this rule somewhat regularly when life gets insane. But this morning I REALLY struggled to follow the rule. But as I bailed water from my laundry room, the Spirit was kind enough to initiate a dialogue with me, reminding me of the words of Jesus.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life"
I don’t know about that. I feel super anxious right now.
"what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on."
This is going to be so expensive, we’ve had water damage in our house before and it was incredibly costly and inconvenient to fix.
"Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?"
Right. That’s true. But it’s hard to see beyond THIS THING that's right in front of my face at the moment. I don’t want to think about eternal stuff. Please don’t remind me of eternal stuff.
"Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?"
Well, yes. You absolutely take care of the birds. But I’m not the same as birds. I have agency, I have responsibilities, Lord. So I feel like it would be better for me to worry my way through this particular crisis, if it’s all the same to you.
"And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?"
OK. That’s hard to argue against.
"And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?"
Well, now that you say that, I believe it’s true. You’ve always taken care of our needs in the past. We’ve never been forsaken.
"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."
That sounds like a command. How am I supposed to do that?
"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
And I was reminded - the reason we have the “Don’t Freak Out” rule is this - we know it’s going to be OK. Even if it’s not OK for a while, it’s going to be OK.
Sometimes we think of the fight for faith as a battle that takes place in the big moments - big points of conflict, the dark night of the soul. And that’s absolutely true. But that war is also waged in these little moments, which are so often God’s gracious invitations to trust him, even amid the mundane frustrations of life.
I don’t know if you struggle with worry or anxiety as I do, but if so, I hope the Lord meets you and strengthens you with his grace today.
"Pray, and let God worry.” - Martin Luther