Jesus’ Cure for Worry: Part 1

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Wading in the waves

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?

Matthew 6:25

Like any good rabbi, Jesus asks lots of questions—like nine in just these ten verses, all on one topic and with two answers. The subject is worry and anxiety. Jesus understands that worry and anxiety are inevitable. Sometimes they are effective motivators. Overall, however, Jesus has a low view of them. As they evolve and increase, they distort life and lead to all sorts of miseries.

Saying “Don’t worry” to a worrier doesn’t help. Anxiety demands more substantive advice. So Rabbi Jesus doesn’t just say, “Don’t worry.” He also gives us something to do when we worry, to replace anxiety with activity. We’ll look at the first of these today and the second tomorrow.

First of all Jesus says, “Don’t worry … Consider—the birds of the air … Consider—the lilies of the field.”

Consider, pay attention to, and look intently at how attentive God is even to the needs of birds and flowers. And listen to what Job says about how attentive God is to us.

What are human beings, that you make so much of them,
that you set your mind on them,
visit them every morning,
test them every moment?
Will you not look away from me for a while,
let me alone until I swallow my spittle? (Job 7:17-19)

Jesus’ first antidote to worry is to “consider” the world that God has made—how the birds fly and the flowers bloom. You understand that birds and flowers are just shorthand for God’s spectacular universe of wonders and miracles. Consider it—all of it. Take it in with your senses. Breathe it, taste it, touch it, smell it, hear it, see it in its glorious symmetry and harmony, unity and diversity. And then remember that God promises that and even more for you.

Our three-year old grandson, Nathan, likes to look through binoculars, but he always looks backwards, so that everything looks farther away. I help him turn the glasses around to see things close up. That’s what Jesus is saying here; when you are worried and help seems far away, turn the worry around. Consider—look closely at all that God has made, beginning with the birds and the flowers, and trust that much, much more he will care for you.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What role do worry and anxiety play in your life? In saying, “Don’t worry,” Jesus does not mean, “Don’t work, don’t plan, don’t prepare.” What are some differences between working/planning/preparing and worried-working/planning/preparing?

PRAYER: Gracious Lord, I live in this world that you have made, but I allow most of its wonders and miracles to go unnoticed. Adjust my vision so that I am able to truly “consider” how you care for me and so be lifted out of the suffocating quicksand of worry and anxiety. Amen.