The Gauntlet of the Lillies
My mother-in-law is bravely battling lung cancer and Republicans in far-away Richmond Virginia. A good friend of mine, a highly placed CEO with a strong track record was suddenly removed from his post for reasons unkown and is now wondering where he will go to work. Another friend's almost adult child is going through enormous inner turmoil and wants her family to stay out of it. Another friend battles mental and physical illness and has just recently been living out of her car before being admitted to a group home. This week God opened my eyes to a number of friends going through tough, tough times.
And the text before me is Matthew 6:25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry...." What? Two types of cancer in both lungs and don't worry? A wandering child alone...don't worry? How dare I get into the pulpit and throw out the phrase "don't worry" to folks who are not fretting about trivial things (that's an easy one to hammer) but about really big gnarly things. Will the cancer come back? Do I have a life ahead of me or should I get the funeral ready? Will my child ever come home again? Have I failed as a professional and husband? Whew! These are big and legitimate worries.
One friend in this pile met me this week and said, I'm coming to church hungry and I know your text. Don't give me throw-away lines, I'm drowning here!
So, look to the lillies, the birds and the gift of life itself. Where does prudent care, even legitimate agony end and needless worry begin? I think I'm heading to Jesus command to "seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness" as the only way to live with worry and hope, fear and courage, anxiety and trust, held together by that audacious word of Jesus.