Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Special thanks to Peggy Graff and her guests for providing this uplifting and inspiring addition to us in her Hymn-a-Day May series. I pray that these paired daily selections will uplift your spirits and feed your soul as much as it does mine.
Matthew 6:25-34 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
It goes without saying that a lot of people are feeling a lot of anxiety right now. There are so many reasons to feel anxious—for yourself, your loved ones, for our community, our nation, and our world—and how we are going to get through this time.
It also goes without saying that anxiety is just a part of being human in normal times. So much of life is beyond our control and when the illusions of control are shattered, we become anxious. This is certainly such a time.
So, what does Jesus have to say about anxiety? “Don’t worry about your life.” (Matthew 6:25) Is that possible? It seems like he might as well say, “Don’t be human.” After all, psychologists tell us that anxiety is central to human existence. In fact, anxiety can lead us to growing where we need to grow, to changing where we need to change, and ultimately to greater maturity.
So, what does Jesus mean? When we look at the Greek word translated “worry” here in the text, it connotes something more than just day-to-day worries. The Greek word used here, merimnáō, means “to worry” or “to be anxious.” It is used five times in this passage alone, all in a negative manner. The root of the word is another Greek verb, merízō, which means “to divide; to separate into parts; to cut into pieces; to divide into parties, i.e. be split into factions.” The anxiety Jesus is talking about is the kind of anxiety that cuts us to pieces, that is destructive of the trust and hope we have in our dependable, gracious God.
You could say that what Jesus is talking about is toxic worry. Jesus is calling us away from that kind of worry to trusting God and living one day at a time.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster