What makes you anxious? Here’s a short list of the things that I could worry about:
- my van takes over $100 to fill up and only gets 10-15 mpg but is the only thing my family fits in
- my children will likely all need orthodontic work, which means a minimum of $2000 per smile @ 6 smiles is around $12,000
- my oldest will be going to college in six years and then about every two years I’ll se another one off; at just around an average tuition cost of $10,000 per year (at a public state school) at four years per child at six children that will eat up about $240,000
- then there is the counseling fund I need to set aside for all the damage I am going to cause in their lives between now and adulthood (I suppose even the best of us make some mistakes)
- moving away from money I sometimes worry that I won’t prepare them well for the difficulties they will encounter in this life; after all, violence isn’t only rising in the Middle-East, it is also on the rise in our Middle Schools
- sometimes I wonder if any of the stuff above matters since the “big one” – whether that’s an earthquake or a war – is just around the corner
- I sometime fear that my wife will die in a traffic accident or be kidnapped (after all, she is really pretty)
- then there’s cancer; it seems that everything causes cancer in the state of California (isn’t there even a proposition for that?)
- what about my role as a pastor? am I faithfully leading God’s people?
- what about my staff of 35? will I be able to lead a ministry that will allow them to make a kingdom impact and continued to provide for their families?
7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
10 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, support, strengthen and establish you. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
What a deal! I get to cast all my anxiety on Jesus. He gets to worry about me and I simply get to enjoy the life he’s given me. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is some suffering involved here (vv 8-9). But is anxiety any less suffering? At least this new suffering has purpose. In the end I will be restored, supported, strengthened and established.
This means all that is broken in me will be set right. My broken heart over my brother’s death will be healed. My brokenness that is the result of past sin will be cured. I will be made what God intended me to be all along.
It also means that I won’t be going it alone. I’ll have support from the body of Christ. Over and over again I tell people who find themselves in such difficult situations that they were never meant to live life alone. Each one of us is created for fellowship. We can do a lot of churchy things on our own – sing, read the Bible, do good, etc. – but we cannot fellowship on our own; for that we need others.
It also means that I will get better at living this life. I will be strengthened. As I have trained in judo over the last 20 years I have gotten physically stronger. More than that I have gotten better at judo. The longer we train in Jew-do (the way of Jesus) the better we become at living the life he intended for us. Old habits are set aside and habits of righteousness are picked up along the way.
Finally, this means there is hope for a solid future in Jesus. To be established in something is to have accomplished much and to be in a position that is safe and sound. Being established in Christ means that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. That’s good news and it all begins with casting our anxiety on Jesus. Who wants to carry anxiety around anyway?