The Upper Room devotional reflection for Saturday, May 23rd comes to us Laura Rothhaar of Ohio.
Matthew 6:25-34 NRSV 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?’ or “What will we drink?’ or “What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Once again, I felt paralyzed and completely helpless. As the darkness of my bedroom closed in on me, panic rose in my chest. All too often, fear seemed to rule my life. Questions about my future, my career, my financial situation, my rocky relationship with my significant other, my ill family members — the list never ended — gnawed at my mind. As I lay on my back staring at the ceiling, I remembered the words of Matthew 6:34 quoted above. I realized how much this never-ending cycle of fear with its tossing and turning at night and worrying was hurting my spiritual life as it controlled my thoughts and actions. However, I knew that Jesus loves me and died to save me and that he is sovereign over all.
As the apostle John wrote, fear cannot exist where love is in complete control; if I fear, I am not made perfect in love. (See 1 John 4:18.) I mentally recited all the ways in which God had provided for me time and time again. As I reflected, I realized that through every trial, Jesus was present and had never failed to give me what I needed. Taking a deep breath, I prayed, telling God about all my worries and fears and praying for peace as I drifted off to sleep.
Prayer: Dear God, give us a deeper understanding of your love so that fear no longer rules our lives. Amen.
– Laura Rothhaar
We all have things in our lives that cause us to worry. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, some of us found it difficult to sleep due to the endless lift of concerns and fears. For some, the worry and fear manifest itself into crippling anxiety which requires medication to balance. God has not and does not expect that we will not have worries or fears. Rather, God expects and equips us to overcome our fears with faith. Faith in God’s ability to help us navigate the perplexities of life does not call us to ignore our fears. On the contrary, it calls us to fully acknowledge our fears but then to give them over to the creator of the universe to manage. In the interim, we divert our attention from our fears and instead ask God for direction and discernment on how we can be a blessing. It’s okay to be afraid and to worry, but don’t allow your fears to overrule your faith in the God who conquers all fears.