Some scholars say, “There is always anxiety around even though there may be none in the future.” It is the Chinese wisdom saying. When we feel ‘losing control’ or facing some uncertainties in the future, we may quickly induce helpless or even already have an elaborate plan. Whether knowledgeable or skillful, we can’t escape the feeling of ‘anxiety’ and ‘distress.’ Moreover, the anxiety level also depends on our personality and experience, which brings about emotional disturbance. Some may fill a mind with lots of negative thoughts. For example, some very passionate friends would be deeply agitated by things that may not relate to them personally. Their minds are full of pessimistic thoughts, even ‘self-destruction.’
Formerly I had mentioned my brother-in-law, who migrated overseas and decided to visit his elderly mother in Hong Kong. However, owing to the restrictions and policy of Covid 19 impact, he was very frustrated when encountering even minor problems. A strong feeling of helplessness overwhelmed him. At times, I also discover myself when something happens in a complex way; I will be worried if something is wrong with my physical, mental, or even spiritual dimension. How frail of humanity! Our world is changing fast and unpredictably to natural disasters, famine crises, pollution, pandemics, and viruses, so we would be frightened, insecure, and lose control.
As Christians, we might read about anxiety in Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” or what Apostle Paul encouraged the church to rejoice amid tribulations. All these are so difficult for us in our daily life. Therefore, some non-Christians might tease us that we are ‘life gamblers.’ Or the kind of people who only ‘want to be the winner and never accept the loss.’ We may desire to have everything running smoothly, but at the same time, we will quickly become anxious. We claim to entrust all burdens to God, but we will put them back fast on our shoulders. We may query, ‘Does God listens to prayers? Does He have the power to deliver me from hardship?’ So, our spiritual lives are stocked and filled with complaints. Sadly, we may become ‘wish makers’ instead. May God have mercy on our weaknesses.
I am over 60 years old, but I still need to learn about the lessons of ‘Worry’ and ‘Trust.’ When I observe different people’s lives, I gradually grow more vital in reverence and praise to God as the Bible says, “What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?”
There is a Pastor who was infected with cancer a few years ago. Many brothers and sisters were shocked because he lived a modest life in many ways, such as balanced work, a healthy diet, and a stable character with a shepherding heart. When I visited him and his wife, I asked them what they thought about the issue. His wife told me that they humbly laid their query before God and introspected themselves something was wrong with their ministry and life. As a result, they knew none of the above related. Then, they faced the hardship light-hearted and put simple trust in a close brother doctor for treatment. The other patients were surprised to see their peaceful minds when hospitalized.
Consequently, this pastor did not recover from cancer. Nevertheless, he rested in peace on that Easter Day. Aftermaths, his wife continuously serves God without any grudges.
On the contrary, she thanks God for His presence throughout the whole process of hardship. I appreciate her ‘trust’ in God and that they understood their status before God from the beginning. Usually, people think of negative things when encountering difficulties, especially in life and death issues. Therefore, we may worry about hard times in the future.
Nevertheless, I could feel the hope of life during his funeral service, and it also encouraged the brothers and sisters to be strong. From ‘Worry’ to ‘Trust ‘ leading me to see what ‘fearing God’ is, whether it is long or short of our earthly days. Yet, the glory and beauty of the Light shine over the world. I wish when I approach that day, I will also witness the glory of God.
Both good and bad times could be a reason for our ‘worry.’ The good times may make us worry about losing what we possess, so we try our best to guarantee our ‘benefits’ and safeguard ourselves from the threat of others. Bad times are easy to let us worry because we cannot get what we expect, which stresses our self-image, value, or the loss of personal wealth. When all things we treat center on ‘ME,’ it produces tremendous pressure and anxiety.
From this view, we can’t escape from the power of anxiety!
However, we must pick up our core beliefs: ‘Faith’ and ‘Act.’ Faith is the belief in God’s lordship in good and bad times. The Bible tells us we are God’s treasure, like the pupil of His eye. When we were still in the mother’s womb, He knew us would grant us abundant life. On the other hand, we needed to follow our Lord Jesus’ steps to bear our cross to walk on the narrow path. If we firmly assure faith that it is a Christian’s journey, we will not treat our success and loss as the priority but with a humble submission to God. Just like when King Solomon dedicated the temple to God, his prayer was to make this place for all nations to pray instead of restricting God’s presence in a temple.
Similarly, when Elijah sought to die, the small voice of God awoke his ‘self-pity’ soul. He no longer felt he was the most unfortunate man in the world. So again, humility is the key to open faith in God.
On the other hand, ‘Act’ is a process to make our ‘Faith’ grow. We seldom experience leaping faith. It means life may take a long journey to transform. Apostle Paul was once proud of his background but treated it as trash after he knew Jesus Christ as his Savior. I converted in high school, and one of the practices in truth was ‘Offering.’ At that time, I only had some pocket money or income from some tutorial job. However, through this learning, I experienced what it calls ‘God provides.’ Later, when I worked and in retirement, my attitude of offering did not depend on how much I had but on the willingness to offer that God touches my heart. I think it is like what Apostle Paul says “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need”. Of course, I still have a long way to go. An act is a process affected by internal and external factors. If our direction and target are correct, Jesus Christ, our faith’s protector, will lead us through the good and bad times. Let’s work to please His heart and be faithful to the biblical truth.
May God turn our ‘Worry’ into a motivator for our growth in faith; we will try hard to respond to God’s love and grace.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippines 4:6-7