I was a worrier as a child. I don’t know if it had to do with being the youngest or something else, but I worried about a lot of things. I worried about real things and I worried about things that I made up in my head. I also worried a lot about things that I did not understand. Like when I heard on the news that they were sending arms overseas and would not let anyone go around without sleeves being afraid that they would send their arms overseas.
I look back on that and think how utterly silly that thought was, but for a five year old it makes a lot of sense. I would like to say that it was the only time in my life that I had unfounded worry, but I would not be telling the truth. As someone that worries often, my mind jumps to the most awful place. This happens a lot with people who think like me. The more creative the mind, the more wild and illogical the story becomes.
The problem with worry is that if you’re living in fear of something that has yet to happen, how can you live for today? The text we are working with this week in the Gathering looks explores worry and calls those who follow Christ not to let the possibilities of the future debilitate one’s current life. To have faith is to give us over to believing that God will provide.
I would love to say that this is easy, but it is not. To live in the moment requires us to have a faith that is deep and profound, trusting that even when people might get in our way, God will make the most of it. To this end I think of Paul.
When still Saul, he went through the countryside taking every chance he could to persecute and harm Christians. For the disciples and followers had a great and understandable fear of Saul, but in time God took care of that helping to change Saul’s heart and watch as he made this incredible change from a persecutor of Christ to an advocate and devoted Father of the faith. The change in Paul was something spontaneous that came from God. For Saul there was no logic, no argument that was going to change him; only God could do that, as God did.
For us there is often a great deal of doubt that fills our hearts. In this generation, as is true in many generations before, belief in God is something that is hard since there is so much that seems to contradict God’s message for us today. So often instead of letting faith be our guide, trusting that God will make things good for us in the future, we begin to try and safeguard our future, making choices that often keep us from living in the moment.
I have to admit, I still worry, but that is part of my nature. What keeps me going is having the faith in my depths to say that God is going to provide and when I look back on the things I worry about today I will laugh, just as I do when I look back on the worry I had over sending arms oversees.
Rev. Dr. Bryan James Franzen