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Anxiety

Here in the USA, COVID-19 cases are increasing again with daily positive test results breaking records.People are getting anxious again as we return to the stricter lockdown measures of a month ago. Will this thing ever go away? Will a vaccine be available soon, and will it successfully deal with the problem?
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Here in the USA, COVID-19 cases are increasing again with daily positive test results breaking records.

People are getting anxious again as we return to the stricter lockdown measures of a month ago. Will this thing ever go away? Will a vaccine be available soon, and will it successfully deal with the problem? Add to that the recent civil unrest and the economy struggling along through everything. Tensions are on the rise.

If we’re anxious about it all, we have the answer in today’s reading from Matthew 6 where Jesus says, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life” (v25). You might be thinking, “That’s easier said than done,” and despite knowing academically, I can trust in God, those anxious feelings persist.

This section in Matthew 6 is one of those passages of Scripture that digs deep into our souls, testing whether we truly have faith. Jesus’ words contain sound logic about how we can depend on God. For instance, in verse 26, he says,

“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?”

Yes, we’re God’s children, and of much more value than the birds of the air. So, why do we ever get anxious about anything?

If you’re anything like me, you still worry despite Jesus’ words of assurance. How do we get over our anxiety? How do we stop worrying about our jobs, the economy, our health, our kids, and a whole long list of other things we tend to fret over? The key is in verse 33 –

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Doing that is the only thing we ought to be worrying about. It’s a leap of faith to trust that if we focus on the Kingdom of God and doing things God’s way, then everything will work out.

Jesus’ point is that if we go about our lives in the right spirit, our Father in heaven will take care of us.That doesn’t mean ignoring our everyday commitments and doing lots of Bible study and looking at the signs of the times. Part of doing righteousness is being a good steward now, whether that’s in our homes or jobs or other duties. Food and clothing aren’t going to magically appear if we ignore our environment and just sit around daydreaming about the future Kingdom. But Jesus’ point is that if we go about our lives in the right spirit, our Father in heaven will take care of us.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we’re going to waltz through life without any problems. The divine perspective, however, means we understand that anything that happens to us is for our ultimate good. That might even mean succumbing to COVID-19, losing our job or worse. But what we can do, amid the problems of life, is not be anxious about it all because we know God is in control. If we genuinely believe that we’re God’s children, then we can cast all anxiety aside, by trusting in His loving care and doing the right thing.

Ultimately if we’re focused on the Kingdom, then nothing that happens in this life can destroy us. Think about the Lord’s prayer earlier in the chapter. Jesus mentions three things that we tend to worry about – daily bread, sin, and the threat of evil. He tells us to pray about them, but not as the first things on our minds. The first petition in the prayer is, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (v10). That’s why we ought to be seeking first the Kingdom of God. There will be no need to worry about daily bread, sin, or the threat of evil then because Christ’s rule will solve all problems, and we’ll receive the gift of immortality.

Richard Morgan,
Simi Hills, CA

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