“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in
God; have faith also in me.”
In mind’s eye, I can see myself half-dozing on the couch
around midnight, waiting to see car lights or to hear a car door
slamming. When my teens unlocked the front door, I would breathe
a silent prayer of thanks and pretend I had been sleeping but the
kids knew better. Another night of worry over!
But the safety of my teens was just the top of a long list of worries
– finances, hassles at work, the ups and downs of the local
economy, world peace, even whether my son would medal at the week’s
cross country meet.
It never occurred to me that all this worrying ran counter to the
numerous New Testament admonitions like the quote from today’s
Gospel to surrender fear to a loving God. Until I read this in my
“Lent book,” I’d never seen the pattern/theme
of the anti-worry passages. However they are key to living the life
that Jesus commands.
Jesus was no Pollyanna mouthing platitudes about the power of positive
thinking. He was a member of a persecuted people living in an occupied
land. He was fearless in alienating the local and Roman power structures
and accepted the consequences.
We can argue that unlike ourselves, Jesus KNEW that things would
ultimately come out okay because he was God. However this diminishes
His humanity, His courage and His suffering. The human Jesus probably
didn’t enjoy facing up to the Pharisees any more than a kid
enjoys facing up to a bully. The human Jesus must have worried and
been fearful but He refused to surrender to worry and fear. He showed
us how to take risks and live confidently, trusting God to take
care of us in the long run even when things aren’t going to
work out in this life.
But if worrying is part of your psyche, don’t feel guilty
and worry more. Picture Jesus being with you, (on that couch, on
the playground, in your office or kitchen) helping you to live a
life of faith that will enable you to cope with your problems and