Anxious For Nothing

There is something that I find comforting about realizing how well God knows us.

O LORD, Thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, Thou knowest it altogether. (Ps. 139:1-4)

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.  Psa 139:9-10This is my favorite Psalm. Not only does it have one of the most fantastically poetic phrases in the Bible — “If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea” — it is also the prayer of a man who is in awe of his God and takes comfort in the close relationship they share. David put his complete trust in God, and shared all his worries, troubles, and fears with full confidence that God would hear and respond.

I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication. I poured out my complaint before Him; I shewed before Him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then Thou knewest my path. (Ps. 142:1-3)

Throughout the Psalms, we can see examples of David bringing his anxiety before God, much as Peter admonishes us to do when he writes, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you” (1 Pet. 5:6-7). It is certainly not easy to let go of our worries, but that is what we are expected to do.

In the sermon on the mount, Jesus spends a large portion of chapter 6 admonishing His followers against earthly anxiety. He says to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” instead of on earth and “take no thought for your life” (6:20, 25). Paul says much the same thing in Philippians:

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Php. 4:6-7)

The word translated “careful” is G3309 merimnao (μεριμνάω). Zodhiates says it means, “To care, be anxious, troubled, to take thought.” When we pray to God and draw near to Him, we do not have to be anxious about anything. Now, I can write this just fine, but I’ll be the first person to admit I’m not very good at letting go of my anxiety. I worry about my family and friends, being in groups of people,  my 15-year-old cat, how people will respond to my writings, and my future (which encompasses a whole sub-group of worries we won’t get into right now). I spend an inordinate amount time worrying, and usually things aren’t nearly as bad as I feared. In short, I am anxious about things that turn out to be nothing to worry about.

Just think how much time and energy we could save if we really believed that God will make “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). This doesn’t mean we’ll never worry at all. But it should mean that we can let go of our anxieties more quickly and “let the peace of God rule in your hearts” (Col. 3:15).

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