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Several years ago at Tuesday morning women's Bible study in Cambridge, MA, we were working through a Tim Keller study on the book of Galatians. We broke into small groups to discuss some of the personal/application questions. I was with two dear friends, Jenny and Meda, and one of the questions read something like, What is the biggest difference the Gospel has made in your life?
Without hesitation, my answer was (and still is)
* * *
Fly back with me a couple of decades to my blue bedroom on Lime Hollow Road in Pittsburgh, PA. We had weekly spellings tests back then, in the sixth grade. And they stressed. me. OUT. I was only eleven years old, but after being put to bed, my fear of failure and my worry about grades could land me in the bathroom throwing up - over a spelling test!
Another worry that often consumed me, in the days of the blue bedroom, was that our house would burn down and our family would not be able to get out. (So much for the success of the fire safety programs at school!)
Throughout most of my life, I've wasted countless hours worried that the worst has happened when someone was just stuck in traffic, held up at an appointment, or just plain lost.
There was no peace.
Somehow I felt in control of the situation if I worried about it. But rather than coming out on top, I was being consumed.
Can you relate? Maybe you weren't overwhelmed by spelling tests, but what about other things? How about now ... what you will eat, what you will wear, if you'll have a job next week, if you can make ends meet, if your kids will grow up to know the Lord, if your sick friend or family will pull through, if people will like you at your new job or neighborhood?
Perhaps just reading this is giving you heart palpitations!
Is your life more consumed by worry than trust?
Jesus asked, Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 6:27
* * *
God's Word says, be transformed by the renewing of your minds.
But a transformed mind is not about the power of positive thinking. Nor is it about the power of logical thinking (i.e. finding comfort in working out the low probability of X terrible thing happening.)
A mind is transformed as one regularly practices grounding his thoughts in Christ, in the God who is there, who does not abandon and is a refuge for His people.
Worries loose their power as we look to and remember our God who:
- created mankind in His image, Genesis 1:27
- has plans for you, Joshua 29:11
- daily bears our burdens and from whom comes escape from death, Psalm 68:19-20
- knows what you need. Matthew 6:32
- demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, Romans 5:8, and
- cares for you. I Peter 5:7
to mention a few.
When we're grounded there, rooted in the love of God, our heavenly Father, we can begin and continue to let go of worry as a lifestyle, because whatever trials may come, we know God will provide for us when. we. get. there. I'd like to thank Kelly Sawyer for pointing this out to me once, years ago. I think she got it from the Bible, (surprise, surprise!)
Have no fear of sudden disaster
or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
for the LORD will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from being snared.
You see, there is no promise in Scripture that disaster won't come, simply that we need not fear because the LORD will be our confidence and keep our foot from being snared.
Jesus said something similar to His disciples:
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
In CHRIST we have peace.
May you find that more true in your life today.