A change of scenery is good for the soul. Last week we took a trip to Mexico and delighted in crystal-clear underground rivers, Mayan ruins, tropical birds and flowers, and of course, lots of sand and sun. Though I’m now busy dumping out that sand from shoes and bags, I’m trying to hold on firmly to the peacefulness I felt when my biggest concern of the day was whether to have the seafood or steak for dinner. For a week, somebody else was in charge of feeding and providing for us and I could rest. (And mamas everywhere just said, “Amen!”)
Of course, get me back home and I once again start to fall prey to a lie that the whole world—at least as far as it extends to my family, friends, and sphere of influence—is somehow resting on my shoulders, just moments away from collapse if I don’t find ways to control everything around me.
Hello, my name is Cassia, and I’m a control-freak.
I’ve been encouraged this week, though, by what Jesus says about how to let go of that nagging need to worry and fuss about our daily lives. He says we can start to develop a quiet, trusting spirit when we pause to look up and notice who is always at the controls:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6: 25-26
At first, I thought, “Yes, but I’m not worried about food and clothes, am I? I mean, come on, my worries seem bigger than that.” But as I spent time mulling over these verses and the larger passage, I realized that when I worry and freak out because I can’t seem to control my world, it’s because I’ve forgotten two things:
First, it’s not my world to begin with. Yes, hard things happen, even tragic and cruel things—the result of living in a world that suffers because of sin and an enemy who has laid temporary claim to it. However, this is still God’s creation. He will set things right one day and even now demonstrates his marvelous grace to his creation. He feeds the birds. He allows beautiful things to flourish—the same passage in Matthew says “not even Solomon in all his splendor” is as gorgeous as the flowers growing out in a field. He paints sunsets and designs snowflakes. He connects people to each other so we’re not alone.
Second, God sees me as valuable, part of his own family, and is ultimately in charge of providing for me. “Are you not more valuable than the birds?’ Jesus asked. Well, maybe, but why exactly am I more valuable than some of those wonderous creatures I saw last week? As I meditated over Jesus’ words again, a really strange word popped into my head, one I hadn’t thought about in perhaps 10 years: Ketubah.
Indie folk band, you might ask? Nope. A ketubah was the marriage agreement drawn up by a Hebrew bridegroom based on Exodus 21:9-10.
In her Bible study Restore My Heart, author Denise Glenn points out that the ketubah was the legal promise by the groom always to provide food, clothing, and intimacy to his wife. It is no accident, then, that God chose the metaphor of bride and groom as one of the ways to explain the covenant relationship between the church—all of us who are believers—and Christ. As Denise explains in reference to Matt 6:25-34, “What does Jesus tell us in His word? In essence He says, ‘Do not worry, my whole Word is your ketubah. I have promised that I am going to provide for you.’” (p 68, Restore My Heart )
In Christ, you and I are not birds. We’re His bride. He has promised to care for us, not out of begrudging duty but out of true love. That means our worries are his worries, our cares, his cares. If we can trust him with our very hearts, then certainly we can trust him with our daily lives. My challenge to us as we race into a busy spring is to remind ourselves with each worry, who is really in control and that he’s promised to provide.
So, now it’s your turn. What’s on your worry list right now? Below are a few that make my list fairly often and how Jesus is helping me to trust him more. Where is God asking for your trust?
Taxes and other to-do list worries: Everybody Stresses Out. Here’s Why I Say Bring It On
Trusting God with our kids: 10 Ways to Say “Be Careful” and Other Mom-ventures in Trust
Worries from past hurts and failures: When the Past Has You Tied in Knots