February 16, 2013: The Fourth Day of Lent

February 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,  yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.” ~Matthew 6.28, 29~

In his teaching on worry, Christ draws another example from nature: flowers. It’s a good idea to stop here and mentally picture what Christ speaks of. Imagine an empty field, brown with the decay of winter. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the lifeless brown gives way to a spring green. Then one flower opens up, then another, and then a few more, and suddenly, the whole field is alive with brilliant life and color.

If this picture lacks anything, it is worry. It’s safe to say that worry, at least as we know it, falls outside of a flower’s experience. In Christ’s imagery, flowers just do what flowers do, without fretting over needs or trying to be something they are not. And yet, such simplicity surpasses even the greatest of humanity’s contrived beauty. Of course, we do not use this verse as an excuse to be lazy; far from it! However, there is grace and beauty in trusting in God’s provision. Even the very best efforts of people will still fall short of God’s provision and care. Christ tells us here to go about our business and trust him.

Should we see ourselves as birds or flowers? Some may find that helpful, but Christ says that we’re worth more to God than either of these. We should see ourselves as his beloved people. And though we will experience trouble – Scripture makes this clear – we can trust that we are cradled in his love and care. Christ’s teaching continues to challenge us: worry is associated with underlying doubt about God’s power or love. If we worry, what does that say about our understanding of God and our trust in him?

Christ knows that this is difficult, though. His words are of encouragement, not condemnation. We can’t expect each other to drop all of our worries, forever, just like that; however, we can commit to recognize when we are worried and work on trusting God more in these situations.

Lord Christ, I confess that I worry too much. Please help me to understand how much you love me and care for me, even in times of suffering; even when you act in ways that I don’t understand. I want to trust you more; please help me to do so. Amen. 

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