Anxiety | Day Three
By: Morgan Eseke
Let’s continue our conversation about worry and stress. (Warning: It’s about to get real.)
What are you worried about today?
Please read Matthew 6:25-34.
How does it make you feel that God pays such careful attention to the small things of the world (like the birds and the grass)?
Re-read Matthew 6:30 and 32. Summarize what Jesus saying in your own words.
I don’t know about you, but the phrase “Oh, you of little faith!” sticks out to me in a no-so-good way. Then, to make is worse, in verse 32 Jesus says, “the Gentiles run after these things.” Essentially, Jesus is saying to His disciples, “Dudes, you are acting like you don’t believe in God!”
OK, first of all. Ouch! That is convicting for me. Second, this passage frustrates me to be honest. Because, gosh dang it, I’m somebody who really, really wants to trust God! It used to discourage me when friends try to encourage me by saying something like, “Trust that He’s got a plan” or “Just have faith.” That was exactly what I was trying to do! But on honest days, I would tell you, it wasn’t working. The truth was, I was trying to cast my anxieties on Him, but I simply didn’t know how.
For most of my life I was really good at pretending I was trusting God, so good in fact, that I fooled myself. You see, my life and actions looked like I trusted God – I was saved (I accepted Christ when I was in second grade), I was leading bible studies, going to church regularly, studying scripture. I spoke fluent Christianese. Overall I tried my best to be a good kid. I sincerely loved God, so I just figured that, surely, I trusted Him.
When I finally got brave enough to face the statement “Oh, you of little faith.” And ask myself, do I really trust God? My honest answer was, “No.” And I realized this: It is possible to truly love someone but not fully trust them.
When I was 14 a gorgeous, athletic, spunky friend passed away unexpectedly over the summer. The dense feeling of sorrow and confusion and the pink ties the boys wore to her funeral are seared into my memory forever. Just as I had grieved that first tragedy, another classmate was killed in a car accident and 6 months later another and another. Until a total of 10 of my high school friends were gone. Suicides. Accidents. Overdoses.
Over the years, I became so hurt and sad and afraid of what might happen next. I woke up every day wondering if I would lose another loved one or if, maybe, today was my turn.
Let me just be honest with you — I did not fully trust God in that season.
The ugly truth was, I had come to believe God was a mean guy in clouds playing games with humans for no apparent reason. I pictured Him crashing cars into each other, sprinkling some cancer here and there, or shaking things up with an earthquake just for the heck of it. I know now that that is the furthest thing from the truth but, at the time, I was too distracted by my fears to get to know God’s true character or remember his obvious faithfulness in my life.
See a lot of times, I think we can say we trust God, but if we don’t truly know who He is and that is completely worthy of our trust, we still hold tightly to our worries. Deep down we believe, we’ll probably have to fix things ourselves.
Over time, we lose perspective.
When we start focusing on our circumstances, we start to believe those things define God.
We can so easily forget that while the world is broken and full of sin, God is perfect and loving and king. He is good, y’all! He is more holy and powerful than we can ever imagine! And He adores you. Just like he has always taken care of the flowers and birds, he will take care of you.
Stay tuned, I can NOT wait to talk tomorrow about all the very real reasons we CAN trust God. But before we get there, I hope you will spend some time journaling and praying through the following questions. I challenge you to be honest with yourself and with God. He can handle it. He loves to know what is really on your heart.
Do you find it hard to trust God sometimes? What makes it difficult for you to trust Him?
What circumstances or events in life have confused you about God?
Spend time asking God to reveal His true character to you. Ask Him to remind you of the times you have experienced His faithfulness.
[If you are struggling with a difficult or especially confusing circumstance, remember that you don’t have to wrestle through these tough questions alone. As you seek God, I also encourage you to invite others in on the journey. God has also placed mentors, parents, and godly friends in your life to encourage you in seasons like these!]