I’m a worrier by nature. A worrywart. What an odd word! It originated from the name of a comic strip character (Worry Wart) and was used to describe someone who constantly pestered people. It evolved into meaning someone who worries incessantly. My husband would say both meanings apply to me. I would say he exaggerates. A bit.
I prefer to think of myself as a planner. An organized person who has her ducks in a row and is prepared. Most people who are organized and who plan ahead don’t need to worry. But, I plan (okay, over plan) because I worry. About what might happen if I’m not prepared. What if I miss my flight? If the airline loses my luggage. If I forget my phone. If dinner isn’t ready when the guests arrive. If it rains. If it’s too cold. If it’s too hot.
Matthew chapter 6 is part of the Sermon on the Mount, a collection of teachings by Jesus to his followers about how they should live as disciples of Christ. In verse 27, He pointedly asks, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” In the next few verses He emphasizes how God provides all our needs and, indeed, knows ahead of time what we need. Jesus wraps up this lesson in verse 34 with “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
As a mother my deepest worries have always been about my children. The worries changed over time, but they continued even after my girls proved themselves to be competent, capable adults. I only half jokingly said they were to blame for my needing to visit the hair salon every eight weeks to get my gray hairs turned back to blonde. Worrying was making me old before my time.
All that worrying couldn’t prevent my daughter’s accident. A moment of confusion on an unfamiliar road with not enough time to correct for a lane change resulted in a head-on crash. Which took her life.
Some things are out of our control. All our worrying, planning, organizing, and preparing still can’t stop bad things from happening in this imperfect world. So, what should we do? Just give in to the chaos? Don’t bother packing a coat for a trip to Boston in the winter? Don’t study for final exams? I don’t think that’s what Jesus was telling us in saying not to worry. I believe he was telling us to get our priorities straight. “SEEK FIRST his (God’s) kingdom and his righteousness and then all these things will be given to you as well.” (v 33, emphasis added).
God knows what we need. He knows what the future holds. It’s not wrong to buy a coat when winter is coming. It’s okay to check the recipe to be sure the cake will be done before the party starts. But, we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. So, ensure you are secure in His kingdom today and tomorrow will worry about itself.