Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Bird Watching

"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:34 NASB)

When a storm is on the rise, he starts to pace. My son can’t NOT worry when he sees there’s a storm headed our way. He wanders from room to room, checking the windows, peeking through the shades and repeating, “I’m not worried. Nope. I’m not the least bit worried.” We laugh and he continues to not worry.

Funny thing is, he weathered the six tornados that passed over our house in the early spring without a hitch. He was calm. At peace. The best explanation I can find is it’s the anticipation.

Anticipation is the pits. It’s also the land mind of lies. When anticipation starts, my son imagines all sorts of things that might happen. The more he imagines, the bigger the fear grows. He paces, waiting for the flood of horrible things to hit — the lies he’s conjured up in his own mind.

I can’t say much about him. I worry too. Things sometimes seep into my head I can’t excommunicate. They churn and swizzle until I find myself pacing the halls at 3:00 a.m.

I love Matthew and his recounting of Jesus’ instructions. The words, the instructions Christ left ... should have put every worry we imagine to rest.

Don’t be self-righteous, pray in secret, give in privacy, care for the poor. Here’s how to pray, don’t store up earthly treasure, and more ... so don’t worry. Don’t worry because God has your back. Jesus even gave us the perfect example — the birds don’t fret and yet they are fed.

If anyone had just reason to worry, it was Jesus. He didn’t know from day to day where His next meal would come from or if He’d be welcome in the next town He’d entered. He dined with sinners, protected prostitutes, walked among the deathly ill. Jesus had reason to worry. But He didn’t. Instead, He spent time teaching the people how not to worry.

There’s more to Matthew’s account of this teaching than meets the eye. When we search deeper we find it’s a matter of trust. Unfortunately, trust usually runs a distant second to anticipation and worry. It’s not the direction we head at the first signs of chaos. Instinct seems to point us in the opposite direction — it’s easier to worry than trust.

Psalms reminds us, "And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You." (Psalm 9:10 NASB)

Trust in the Lord. Easy words spouted but hard words lived.

Trust is hard. It requires real effort, real faith to stand in the belief God has things under control. Still, trust and worry walk hand in hand. The good news is, I know Christ and He lives in my heart. When I know Him, trust Him, my heavenly Father will not forsake me. In fact, He has yet to fail me.

My worries are nothing compared to the worries of others. But when I focus on them instead of looking to the promises of Jesus, the anticipation starts to gnaw away my foundation. How I wish I could be like the birds.

And so, the vicious cycle continues to spin. When I finally get dizzy enough, then I jump off the merry-go-round and land in the arms of a Savior who eagerly waits to hold me close.

These days, I’m working on bird watching with my son. We’ve added some new feeders by the pond so we can enjoy the beauty of the birds. Now, when I see my son’s anticipation growing, we stand in the doorway and watch the birds. If the feeders are empty, we take note how the birds scratch and pull at the ground, filling their bellies with things we cannot see. We’re learning to not worry and growing in confidence that tomorrow will care for itself.

Don’t let worry stall you. When you find yourself pacing, go bird watching. See if they worry.

Copyright © Cindy K. Sproles, used with permission.

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