28And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matt 10:28-31, ESV)
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 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? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matt 6:25-34, ESV)
One of the hardest things for me to learn and come to understand in my walk with God is His sovereignty in all things. I’m not there yet…not even close. But as time goes on, I’m coming more and more to rest and trust that God is in control of ALL things. That includes the good and the bad.
If I was to ask any one of my Christian friends and family members if they believed God was in control of all things, without a doubt all of them would say “Absolutely!”. Yet as with all words, they come cheap for us. A man can tell his wife he loves her all he wants, but if she knows he’s cheating on her with another woman, his words mean nothing. The same works when we say we believe something about the character of God, yet our actions belie it.
We wrestle with demons in our house. We command sickness out of our house. We fight, strive, wrestle, battle, command, take authority, plead, cry out, and try to grab ahold of the altar and shake it till God comes out. We spend so much time trying to get God to do our bidding that we never learn to trust Him and walk in peace and humility before God.
I spent far too many years searching for God’s “voice” and not enough time just trusting in God to take care of me just as He does sparrows and lilies. I wanted God to tell me about bible college, my job, which church to attend, and a whole lot of other difficult decisions. I would pray and listen. Never did an answer come in the form of a “word”, a “dream”, a “feeling”, a “prophecy” or any other thing people are chasing after these days. It seemed like everyone else was “hearing” from God, but He never seemed to speak to me.
I broke down and became angry at God because it seemed He was talking to everyone else and not me.
It’s taken some time for me to learn what the New Testament really teaches about the character of God. Once we are saved we are His. We are bought and paid for with the blood of Jesus Christ. Never will he leave us nor forsake us. We are now slaves of Christ. He is our master and no ultimate harm will come to us.
38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. (Matt 12:38-39, ESV)
Jesus taught that to be constantly seeking signs from heaven was to be someone who didn’t trust in God and the promises in his written Word, the Bible. If one day we see something spelled out in a cloud, or a street sign named the same as a person we’ve been praying for, or even the Virgin Mary in a piece of toast. Thats all they are. They aren’t signs from God. And even if they were, so what. Everything He promises is written down in His word. He promises us nothing more. Anything else is divination, which is no different that reading tea leaves or tarot cards.
As we live our daily lives we can trust Him to provide all that we need. If sickness comes our way, whether we live or die, we do so for the Lord. If we lose our job, He’s promised in the verses above that we won’t go without food, clothing, or shelter. If one day we are brought before a council and asked to deny Jesus Christ or be burned at the stake, we can also rest assured He will provide for us there, too.
We’ve become so infected with the “prosperity gospel” far too many of us Christians have come to think there’s always good that will come out of everything here on this earth. But I have news for you, it doesn’t always turn out so good here on Earth. Sometimes people lose their heads, die of cancer, are crucified, or are burned to death for the sake of Christ. It’s happening all over the world as I type this.
Our lives are not our own. They belong to Christ. We are to love Him and obey his written word, the Bible. We are to seek Him through prayer and to yield ourselves to his word daily. In this manner things will work out the way He wants them to. It’s just not always the way we want them to.
In the meantime:
But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, 11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. (1 Thes 4:10-12, ESV)
We can trust that He’ll guide our steps, make level our paths, care for our body and needs, bring us the relationships we need, and place us just where He wants as we seek Him and trust Him quietly and patiently.
It’s hard for me, too. But believe me, it’s okay to stop the striving……now if I can only walk it out too.