People keep asking me how I am holding up these days. Our family has a few things on our plate: adopting a new daughter, moving back to the States, moving to a new city in the States, starting a new job. Oh in the midst of that, I am supposed to finish my PhD. We have a few things on our plate right now. So, how are we holding up? Well, to be honest, I think we are doing alright.
During the past few weeks, Luke 12 has been rolling around in my head. It is a great chapter. Over and over again Jesus calls on us to ‘Have no fear’; ‘do not be anxious’; to ‘fear not’. It would be easy in the midst of everything happening to fret and worry. How often in life do we feel like the world, the flesh, and the devil are crashing down on us? How often in life do we we feel like there is more on our plate than we can handle? How often do we see people on every side working to undo us? Jesus in the midst of this says, ‘Have no fear.’ He says, ‘Do not be anxious.’ He says, ‘Fear not.’
Now, we could take Jesus’ words as a kind of self-help, or a Bobby McFerrin, ‘Don’t worry be happy.’ But the context of Jesus’ command doesn’t allow us to do that. He doesn’t say, ‘Fear not and just be happy.’ He isn’t saying, ‘In every life we have some trouble; But when you worry you make it double; Don’t worry be happy.’ While McFerrin is correct, we shouldn’t worry, Jesus gives us a deeper reason to have no fear. Jesus tells us that we don’t need to worry because the Lord remembers us:
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. - Luke 12:6–7
Jesus is telling us here that the reality of the situation is that in the moments when we feel like everything is caving in on us, we can rest in the fact that God upholds us. That we have been given this from his hand, and he is a good God. He only gives that which is good for us. Thus, we are able to look to him and fear not. Our ability to ‘fear not’ isn’t due to some false sense of optimism, it is based in the character and nature of who our God is. He is a good God. He loves and cares for us. He knows when the world is caving in on us, so we can hear Jesus say, ‘Do not be anxious. Do not be afraid.’
There is so much to get done between now and, well, two weeks from now. I could be anxious. In some of my more exhausted moments, I get anxious. However, then I hear the voice of my Savior say:
Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. - Luke 12:32
I don’t need to work for the kingdom. I don’t need to build the kingdom. I don’t need to worry how to bring this kingdom on Earth in my laboring, for it is the Father’s good pleasure to give me the kingdom. So, I can rest in the work that has been done on my behalf. I can trust that no matter what happens in the next days, weeks, or months, will be for my good and His glory. I can trust that it is the Father’s good pleasure to give me the kingdom. So, today as I work on my thesis, prepare to move, prepare to bring home a daughter, prepare for a new job, etc, I hear Jesus say to me, ‘Do not be anxious. Do not fear.’
Whate'er my God ordains is right: here shall my stand be taken; though sorrow, need, or death be mine, yet am I not forsaken. My Father's care is round me there; he holds me that I shall not fall: and so to him I leave it all.