Never anxious, always careful!

youhandWhen my life gets complicated (is it ever simple?) I tend to awaken sometime around 3 AM.  My thoughts begin, moving from personal things, to church matters, to unfinished business, to plans, to my children, to the last sermon I preached and the next one I’ll preach – in a tumbling, random manner.  I watch the time pass on the bedside clock, sometimes frustrated, but usually choosing to use those wakeful moments to carry people and problems into the Presence of the Lord. They are quiet prayers, more like murmurs of my heart.  They are not eloquent but flow out of my longing for His wisdom, for His Kingdom to come; first in my heart and then in my world!

Two decades ago, those times in the middle of the night would often cost me the rest of the night’s rest. No more!  Now, I take them as an opportunity to spend some time with God: sometimes wordlessly turning each concern to Him, sometimes matching need to Scripture promise, sometimes just breathing a quiet, “Jesus, be Lord!”  And, after an hour or so, I rest again, knowing that my Father cares for me.

Note the point and counter-point in this word- “Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:5-11, NIV)  The NLT says, “Give your worries to God … be careful!”  We are called to rest on Him with a trust that whole and childlike, knowing that He already has made provision for us.  And yet, we must keep our wits about us. God’s care does not relieve us of our responsibilities.

The error some of us make is in trying to be God! We can never control every outcome. The Psalmist wrote, {127:1-2}
Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is useless.

Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.

It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night,

anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.

However, we know that God expects us to be diligent, to apply ourselves to gaining wisdom, to be fully engaged with life as we seek to make a Kingdom difference. If we are anxious to prove our worth by our work, if we attempt to nail down every variable as we try to secure ourselves against all threats, stress will overwhelm us.

We build a house, but only God controls the wind, the flood, the earthquake that can level it!
We post our guard to drive away thieves and robbers but only God can secure us against the wily, evil that comes from the Devil and those who do his work.
We diligently apply ourselves to getting the seed into the soil, but only God can make it grow!
We are thrifty and prepare for the winters of life, but only God can guarantee our home in Heaven.

Thus, Solomon, the writer of this Psalm, urges us to set aside anxiety and to trust our Sovereign Lord.
Read it again: “If God doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks.
If God doesn’t guard the city, the night watchman might as well nap.
It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone.
Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?” (Psalm 127, The Message)

Jesus says, “Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and He will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.”

Take this word from the Word and draw strength from the picture it paints.
“This is what the Lord says: “At just the right time, I will respond to you. On the day of salvation I will help you.
I will protect you and give you to the people as my covenant with them.” (Isaiah 49:8, NLT)  “See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my mind is a picture of (your need).” (Isaiah 49:16, NLT)

________________

How Great Is Our God (Chris Tomlin sings)

The splendor of the King,

Clothed in majesty,

Let all the earth rejoice,

All the earth rejoice!

He wraps Himself in light,

And darkness tries to hide,

And trembles at His voice,

And trembles at His voice!

 

 

How great is our God!

Sing with me,

How great is our God!

And all will see, how great,

How great is our God!

 

 

And age to age He stands,

And time is in His hands,

Beginning and the End!

Beginning and the End!

The Godhead, three in one,

Father, Spirit, Son,

The Lion and the Lamb,

The Lion and the Lamb!

 

Name above all names.

Worthy of all praise.

My heart will sing,

How great is our God!

Chris Tomlin | Ed Cash | Jesse Reeves

© 2004 sixsteps Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

worshiptogether.com songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

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