There is a lot to be anxious about in this world. Even if you never turn on the news, you surely know enough about people (or even your own experience) to fill you with dread on any given day. This world is not the way God intended it to be.
I face my own share of things to be anxious about. I’m in the throes of the newborn days, so sleep is elusive. Wondering whether I will get a good stretch of sleep when my head hits the pillow at night can be anxiety inducing. I have four children ages four and under. I am regularly confronted with my limitations as a mom. That’s anxiety inducing. I also have my own sin that is ever before me. Will I ruin the people in my life because of my own failure and sin? And these aren’t even the worst of my anxious thoughts. Because of all that happened leading up to Ben’s arrival, I am still processing the trauma of that, which can lead to many anxious days (and nights). You could even say that on any given day anxiety is ever before me in varying degrees.
My anxious thoughts might be different than yours, but you probably have a list you could rattle off. Maybe it’s bills that you have no idea how they will be paid. Maybe it’s a child who isn’t walking with the Lord. Maybe it’s a spouse’s sin. Maybe it’s a broken relationship. Maybe it’s a child who you don’t know how to discipline. Maybe it’s an illness, a grief, or a loss. Anxious situations are ever before us in a post-Genesis 3 world. We cannot escape them.
So where do we go with them?
The Savior knows that we struggle with anxiety. He knows our frame and remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103:14). He has not left us to wallow in our anxieties. Instead he tells us what to do with such thoughts. Consider his words in Matthew 6:25-34:
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 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? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
When Jesus spoke of anxiety, he didn’t give us the answer to tomorrow’s worries. He didn’t even say there is nothing to be afraid of. The Bible never promises a fearless life. Instead, it acknowledges that there is much to be fearful over yesterday, today, and tomorrow. But we can’t worry about tomorrow or any day, Jesus says. Today has enough to consume us, so we can’t spend our days wondering about the future. Jesus doesn’t let us go to our hypothetical scenarios about what might happen tomorrow. Instead he says: “don’t be anxious” and then reminds of who he is and who we are. Look to how he cares for every thing in the world, he tells us, and that should be enough to sustain us in our anxious days. In his abundant care for creation we see his character and we can trust that he will take care of us in even greater measure. If a sparrow doesn’t have a thing to be anxious over, how much more should we, his image bearers, have nothing to fear? If a sparrow has every single need met every day, how much more will our needs be met every single day even if we can’t see how that provision will occur right now?
In our anxiety he doesn’t give us the answer to all of our worries, he gives us himself. Many days we aren’t given insight into how he will work tomorrow or the next day. And some days it feels like he hasn’t shown up at all. But we have to go back to the sparrows. He cares for them every day. He will care for us. He will show up. We can count on it, even if the timetable is different than our own.
In motherhood, even in life, there is a lot that can consume our thoughts to make us anxious. Tomorrow carries a lot of fears. So does today. The answer to tomorrow’s anxieties is to look not to the hypothetical to come, but to the Savior who cares. We could spend our days staring down the barrel of uncertain and fearful hypotheticals, or we could look to the God who promises to be with us when our anxieties become reality. If he cares for the birds how much more will he care for you, his daughter? May we all remember this as our anxieties threaten to undo us today, and even tomorrow. He’s a good Savior. He will take care of us.