Worry! It is part of the human condition. From Alfred E Neuman (What, Me Worry?) to Bobby Mcferrin’s hit, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy;” every generation has had its share of worries. We may not worry about being eaten by dinosaurs, but now it is nuclear proliferation, global warming, and an unproven quarterback for the Buckeyes. But our faith promises peace in the midst of worry. Here are some passages to ponder this week.
PRAYER: O God, the Source of all true peace: we live in anxious times. Teach us to trust in you with our “ginormous” problems and our daily fears. Keep our eyes, our ears, and our hearts focused on your power and your presence. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.
MONDAY- Matthew 11:28-30
Let’s start with Jesus’ words. In this chapter Jesus hears questions and doubts from his cousin, John the Baptist. He is confronted with questions, suspicions, and resistance. Even though he does magnificent miracles, people still don’t believe. These are tense moments. What does he promise in these verses at the end of the chapter? If Jesus believes this for himself in his anxious moments, how does that change the way you manage your worries?
TUESDAY- John 14:15-31
If yesterday’s reading was tinged with worry, ramp up today’s reading 10 times.It is the night before Jesus’ death.The disciples have been arguing.They still don’t seem to get it.Time is running out.How does Jesus respond?He seems to recognize their fears, their anxieties.What does he promise?Does Jesus recognize your fears and anxieties?What does he promise to you?
Wednesday – Isaiah 26:1-6
These were anxious moments in Israel’s history. Judah’s cousins in the Northern Kingdom had already been conquered and wiped out by the Assyrians. Now the Babylonians had overthrown the Assyrians, and were threatening the Southern Kingdom. Isaiah recognizes that the people have lost their way. They put more trust in Egypt to save them, instead of God. But he holds out a vision of a day when the people will trust God again. How is verse 3 a promise for the people of Isaiah’s day? How is verse 3 a promise for you?
Thursday – Lamentations 3:22-24
Many historians believe Jeremiah survived the destruction of Jerusalem and the Southern Kingdom. This book, lamenting the disaster, speaks of hope for the future. These verses frame one of my favorite hymns. How does one avoid worry in the ashes of disaster? How does one find hope in the wreckage of tragedy? Jeremiah has an answer!
Friday – Ephesians 2:11-22
Worry and anxiety come as a result of threat and fear. But the secret sauce is to focus on the One whose power and grace is greater than all else. So God gives us peace through Jesus Christ. See verses 13 & 14. If God is willing to go to this extreme to forgive our sins and restore us to relationship, how much more God will provide for us and protect us in anxious times. Why worry?
Saturday – Philippians 4:6-9
Scholars believe this may have been Paul’s last letter, likely written while in a Roman prison facing his own death. Yet, the letter is filled with hope and joy and peace. How can this be? What does Paul describe about his faith in these verses? What are the habits and practices he uses, even though he faces danger and disaster every day? How can these habits and practices help you in anxious moments?