Now one big thought that used to plague me was “Yeah but bad things really do happen. How do I keep from being afraid when there are really bad things that happen?”
So I planned for “bad things”. However, my planning went from “reasonable” to “unreasonable”.
It is wise to prepare, it is wise to plan. But our faith must rest in the Lord, not in our plans.
Romans 8: 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. NIV
Luke 12 4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. NIV
Luke 12:22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27 “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. NIV
Read Psalm 91. If our faith is in the Lord, we can trust His plan and protection, even from plagues. We might succumb, we might survive, but HE is the one in control. He is our rampart, our ever present help in times of trouble. He is the One.
He does not say not to do anything. We are to be wise. However, we are to be even more faithful. We are blessed to see how the Lord wants us to deal with dangers in the world in Proverbs 31.
First of all, she worked hard, and her gain was good. Her house was prepared:
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household, For all her household are clothed with scarlet. NAS
The woman prepared her family for “snow”–they were clothed in scarlet. She was wise and thrifty and prudent. She did not say “Oh well, if God wants us to make it through the winter, then He will give us clothing.”. She knew that He gave her the ability to provide clothing for her family. He gave her the responsibility.
However, she could also “laugh at the days to come”. Why? Because her faith was in the LORD, not in the scarlet cloths. She prepared, but her ultimate faith was in the Lord. She feared the Lord, not the bird flu nor hurricanes or bank failures or anything else.
What does it mean to have an anxious thought? Does it mean not looking at the bank account, not checking a child for a fever, not preparing for a hurricane? No. But there is a big difference between “I am grateful that the Lord gave me this ability to check for fever, medicine to help, and Jesus as the ultimate Physician.” and “Oh NO! What if she gets worse? What if I get it? What if it is bacterial? WHY did this have to happen now??”.
Let’s practice with another thought–try a credit card debt. Take a moment right now to say what would be a godly, non-anxious thought about a credit card bill, then what would be an anxious, stress filled thought about it.
Ok, did you do it? Here is mine:
Godly: “I am sorry, Lord, that I let this go so far, but I am so thankful to You that I live in a country where I am not jailed for having a debt. I will not run up more debt, and I ask Your help in reducing this. Thank you for Your provision, and I will try to be wiser in it from now on.”
Anxious: “Oh NO! WHERE am I going to get the money for this and WHY did dh just go buy another part for that BLASTED car when the debt is so high? Oh great, now we have NOTHING left in the bank!!”
A good tip is to actually write down your stresses and write down an anxious reaction and a godly reaction and only allow yourselves the godly reaction.
Let us go back to our Proverbs 31 example. Her household was prepared, but her heart was prepared also.
Proverbs 31: 25-26, 30 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue….
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. NIV
Luke 12:19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.'” 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” NIV
1 Timothy 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. NIV
Our fear belongs in the Lord, not in the world or its germs or anything else. Our faith belongs in our Father, not in our pantries, protections, lamp post touching, hand-washing. He is perfect. His will is perfect. He is the one in ultimate control. Prepare your heart, do not rely on your ability or strength.