Vol. 3, No. 6
Worry is "a troubled state of mind" (Webster). During his earthly life, Jesus, knowing that the cross was ahead, was "troubled" (tarasso, John 12:27). He told his apostles that he would be "ridiculed, violently abused, and spit upon," beaten "with a whip" and killed (Luke 18:32-33).
Vividly he announced, "I came to throw fire on the earth, and how I wish it was already kindled! I have an immersion to undergo, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!" (Luke 12:49-50). "Now my life is troubled! What shall I say?" (John 12:27).
If he had been self-centered, he would have prayed, "Father, save me from this hour" (John 12:27). But being unselfish and dedicated, he said, "I came to this hour for this reason" (John 12:27). The reason was that he had left the "glory" (John 17:5) and riches of heaven (2 Corinthians 8:9) to go to the earth "to save the lost" (Luke 19:10) by pouring out his blood in a cruel death (Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 5:7). Unveeringly, he stayed with his commitment.
But he was worried, enduring a severely "troubled state of mind," about midnight, in the garden of Gethsemane before his death the next day. He told Peter, James and John that he was "deeply grieved, even to death" (Mark 14:34). Then, all alone, he "fell on his face," praying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup [of death] pass away. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will" (Matthew 26:39). Though the night was "cold" (John 18:18), Jesus' fervent praying, "with strong crying and tears" (Hebrews 5:7), caused him to sweat "like clots of blood falling to the ground" (Luke 22:44).
But when he could not change the Father's plan, Jesus' worry ceased, and he was ready to endure "the cross," disregarding "the shame" (Hebrews 12:2). His worry was replaced with "the joy set before him" (Hebrews 12:2) of his resurrection and of his going back to heaven to sit "at the right side of the throne of God" (Acts 2:24, 30-31; Hebrews 12:2).
New Christians do not know how to handle trials that cause them to worry. They "need someone to teach" them "the first principles of the oracles of God," for they "need milk, not solid food" (Hebrews 5:12).
At first they do not "consider it all joy when" they "fall into various trials," not knowing that the trying of their "faith produces patience" that will make them "complete and entire, lacking in nothing" (James 1:2-4). However, "for a little while now, if need be," new Christians are "troubled by various trials" (1 Peter 1:6). As they spiritually "grow to adulthood" (Hebrews 6:1), they see beyond worries a "rejoicing" in a "living hope" for "an imperishable and unstained inheritance, reserved in heaven for" them (1 Peter 1:3-6).
As Christians grow, having "tasted that the Lord is gracious" (1 Peter 2:2), they know that the "Lord" is always "near" (Philippians 4:5), never sleeping (Psalm 121:4). They begin to realize the astounding fact that their God "can do infinitely more than we ask or imagine, according to the power which works in" them (Ephesians 3:20).
A young Christian father with two children, on burying his beloved wife, told me on the way to the cemetery that "some things we are not supposed to understand." But his faith in a God who knows "the end from the beginning" (Isaiah 46:10), a God who has said that "better is the end of a thing than the beginning" (Ecclesiastes 7:8), gives him strength to know that somehow "God works all things together for good" to "them that love God" (Romans 8:28).
Christians, with that man's faith, are able, not only to thank God for things pleasant, worry-free, but able also to thank him "for all things" (Ephesians 5:20), though some are worrisome and not understandable.
Only a mature Christian has "no anxiety," no worry, "about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving," he lets his "requests be known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding," guards his heart and mind "in Christ Jesus," as he always rejoices "in the Lord. Again I [Paul] will say, rejoice" (Philippians 4:4-7).
Only a mature Christian can say, "In any and all circumstances I have learned [time is required, maybe years] the secret of being well-fed and going hungry, both to abound, and to be needy. I have strength for every situation through the One who gave me power" (Philippians 4:12-13).
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