He continued this subject with his disciples. "Don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more.
"Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can't even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don't fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?
"What I'm trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
The question I’m asking myself this morning is this, “When I think about being in the presence of God am I relaxed or anxious?”
If I’m honest with myself I think the answer is, “Anxious.”
Why? Because too often in my heart of hearts I don’t believe that God is good and sovereign. The feeling of anxiety when I consider God’s presence is rooted in a lack of belief or trust that God is who Jesus says God is. It really is as simple as that.
When I’m struggling to believe that God provides and cares for me then I miss out on all the ways that God provides and cares for me. It’s a strange problem to have. I want to trust that God is going to do all that the Scriptures say God is going to do. However, I struggle to believe that and therefore get anxious.
It’s like the old joke about the man in the flood. As the waters rise a man in a canoe comes by and offers the man a ride out. He responds by saying that he will wait for God to save him. As the waters get higher another person comes along with speed boat and offers the man a ride to safety, he replies that he’s waiting for God to save him. Finally, a person with a helicopter comes by as the water has risen such that the man is trapped on his rooftop. He replies that he is waiting for God to save him. The man drowns. Standing before God he asks why God didn’t save him. God replies, “I sent you a canoe, a speedboat, and a helicopter. What more did you want?”
I have to learn to relax and to see all the ways that God has provided for me. In those seasons of life where I have relaxed, I find that coming into God’s presence is also a joy. Because I am resting in God’s care for me.
Jesus says above to, “Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.” How do we do that? I think there are three ways that we do that. We read Scripture, we pray, and we go deep into community.
When we read the Scripture and we allow the story to wash over us we begin to see the world through the lens of the God-reality. When we pray we can choose to yield to the God-intiative. When we go deep into community we see the God-provisions played out in the stories of neighbors.
All three things change our perspective of the world. In seasons of my life when I’m practicing these three things consistently I find that as I think about being in the presence of God it is relaxing and restful. Why? Because these three practices help me believe in my unbelief.