Worry is derived from a Greek word that means to be divided, distracted and double-minded. It means to have double vision, to be unfocused. Worrying is a mental activity of contemplating outcomes. Like the phrase, “Let go and let God.” It has a nice sentiment. And those who say it mean well. But it assumes we even have the ability to let go and begin again within.
As I think of struggles some of us are facing, I am reminded all of our lives are fragile. Our attempts to render our lives foolproof, accident proof, disease proof, suffering proof, surprise proof; almost always fail in the end, but not before we have rendered ourselves exhausted. I have noticed that rejoicing in the midst of concerns is not as easy as it looks. I realize there are people who are really hurting in our community. (Death, divorce, job loss, homelessness, money woes, relationship issues, etc). The scripture today tells us our true security lies in God’s care for us and our recognition we are worthy of that love and care.
I know that when I live on the edge, where things are not completely settled and I am overwhelmed with concerns, it is hard for me to think imaginatively, act creatively, and love boldly. Jesus must have been fully acquainted with weariness: think of the energy it must have taken to preach, heal and comfort the admonished and broken day in and day out. Our greatest challenge is not in being worried, or weary, or burdened with the trials of this life. It is in allowing ourselves to be held by God despite our longings.
Jesus tells us not to concern ourselves with tomorrow as “Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Tomorrow will have new concerns. We should face these concerns as we live one day at a time. Perhaps in our more honest moments, we recognize our profound neediness, our intellectual limitations, our spiritual inadequacy and our need to lean on God. The Gospel today is asking us to sit quietly and take inspiration from the inner voice asking us to trust. Perhaps the message is that we not remain prisoners of self-doubt, but rather live in the promise of God’s genuine care for us. Perhaps when we really begin to accept this promise, nothing on Earth, no hurt, sickness, pain, circumstance or even death can ever separate us from the love of God.
We pray together today that whatever our worries we know the strength, love, and fullness of God and together we might give God the time, the opportunity to touch our hearts with peace. Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith and leave tomorrow’s worries to God.
Bernadette Moore Gibson is Director of Pastoral Care at Old St. Patrick’s Church.