Monday, February 21, 2011

Worry Wart

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" (Matthew 6:27)

The second chapter of Crazy Love focuses on our brief time on this earth relative to the infinite nature of God. A favorite verse comes from the fourth chapter of James, "Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.'  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." (Js 4:13-14) The illustration is given in the book that if all of history was a movie, God would be the star, and our brief cameo appearance would last a fraction of a second.

Yet we live our lives as if we are the star. We believe our lives, our choices, our importance is history-making. Yes, there are people who have made significant, lasting marks on history. But of the 8 billion people on Earth right now, what makes us think that will be us?

The truth is, we are only a mist. We don't even know the given length of our lives. So that important deal, that important decision, may never even come to pass. It is sobering, humbling, to consider. And looking at life given this revelation should change how we approach worry and stress.

There was an interesting email exchange last week. One brother was sharing from his personal Bible study and quoted 1 John 3:1, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" and talked about how, in all of our trials, we should remember that God calls us his children. I followed up with the above verse from Matthew and the conclusion to that chapter, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself." (Mt 6:34a). I also referenced the command Paul gives in Philippians 4:4 to rejoice always. I paraphrased a definition of stress from Crazy Love, that when we stress out we are saying that our worries are more important than obeying that command. In other words, it is ok to sin because we are that important.

The brother shared again the next day, quoting Romans 8:35-37, and followed that up talking about how God promises that all the hardships, trials, and challenges he has been facing over the past year cannot separate him from the love of God. What a comforting and encouraging thought! Another brother followed up discussing joy quoting Romans 15:13: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

It was clear from the above email chains, that worry and stress is something we can all relate to. In fact, in yesterday's sermon our preacher noted that the verse, "do not be anxious about anything..." (Phil 4:6) is probably the most disobeyed command in all the Bible.

Worried. Stressed out. If I took a survey, I bet many would describe themselves this way. But it need not be. We need to be reminded of God's love and the short time we are given to draw breath. The following video, though only covering a year, and the accompanying songs is a good reminder of what is really important. (Disclaimer: I don't know this family. Often when looking for videos for songs, you find a lot of picture slideshows. But this video was perfect. I think you'll agree)


katdish said...

First of all, that video was awesome.

My pastor was talking about an interview Chan did recently. Francis said many people looked at him and his family and thought what he was doing was strange--Leaving a big church and choosing the life of a missionary. But if you look at the the stories in the Bible, comparatively speaking, what he's doing isn't at all strange. What most of us are doing is.

Jesus did say GO and make disciples, right? Not, build a ministry and pray for people to come to you. Okay, sorry. I'm rambling. Your post just got me thinking.

Fatha Frank said...

Thanks for commenting! Crazy Love, by itself, is a good book that I'd recommend to anybody. What makes it a great book though, is seeing how the author himself has been challenged by it and has changed because of it. The fact that he's catching flak from some of the big names in the Evangelical community is only a good thing, IMHO. It's a worthy topic to discuss. Rant away!