Tag Archives: Worry

While God Warms our Bottle

8 Mar

Recently I was engaged in conversation with a young Methodist pastor two months after his wife had given birth to a beautiful little girl. Lupe was relating how God was teaching and growing him through this totally dependent and adorable creation. He and Kelsey named their daughter Adarah, which is a Hebrew word meaning “beautiful.”

Adarah lets her hunger be known in no uncertain terms. Daddy hears and understands, but it’s necessary to first warm the bottle before satisfying her needs. Meanwhile, Adarah gets more frustrated and frantic. What a beautiful picture of God and His children. He hears and understands, but first God makes sure the bottle is warm. We doubt His goodness and believe He ignores our frantic pleas. We want satisfaction now. We worry and fret because we can’t see or understand how our problem will be solved. God has a solution.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6–7 NLT).

As time passes, if caregivers are consistent and loving, babies learn that their needs will be filled. They also learn to eat solid foods. Toddlers express preferences and gradually mealtime can become fun or it can become an ever increasing power struggle. So much depends on the patience and nurture of the parent as well as the health of the child.

Our heavenly Father is always loving and patient because that is His nature. However, as His children we aren’t always patient or healthy—emotionally, spiritually, or even physically. We don’t grow up. We fail to thrive. The writer to the Hebrew speaks to this age-old problem.

“You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right” (Hebrews 5:12–13 NLT).

God knows our needs and takes us where we are. In the beginning we need milk.

“Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into God salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:2–3 NRSV).

He wants us trust His goodness and love. He wants what’s best for us. He alone knows the future and His timing is perfect. He offers solid food through Scripture, friends, books, sermons, and even blogs.

Choose to grow.

Remember He’s warming the milk.

Trust Him.

Worry

2 Aug

I sat cross-legged on the bed in our inexpensive motel room, midway into our 900-mile trek. Our destination was the university where George hoped to get his doctorate. All our possessions were stacked in the rental truck and stuffed into the towed Datsun station wagon. Two dogs and a ferret occupied boxes in the back of our aging van, which pulled the boat. (“The Grapes of Wrath” comes to mind.) The university hadn’t yet accepted George into the doctoral program; neither house nor jobs waited. I read Matthew 6:19-34, which concluded with these words.

[Jesus said,] “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ . . . for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:31–34 NASB95).

I wrote in the margin, “Does this mean tuition, books, gas?”

I’ve heard the definition for worry is assuming responsibility God never intended us to have. Perhaps the key is distinguishing between God’s responsibility and mine. The passage above says our part is to seek God first. God knows us and adds to our life all necessary things.

Yet that’s an incomplete picture. Second Thessalonians 3:10b says, “Anyone unwilling to work should not eat” (NRSV). George and I worked extremely hard—maybe too hard. Remember how Martha worked as Mary sat at Christ’s feet? Jesus told her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41–42 NRSV).

Ultimately, God is our greatest need.

Still, we spend time worrying about so many things; most never happen. I realize we have legitimate concerns and God is not our fairy godmother. However, worry changes nothing. I’ve learned to do all I know to do and leave the results to God. We can trust His love and intimate knowledge of our needs. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7 NLT).

Paul said, “I have learned to be content with whatever I have” (Philippians 4:11 NRSV). That gives me hope. Replacing worry with contentment is something I can learn. The three years it took George to get his doctorate taught us remarkable lessons in contentment versus worry and faith versus fear.

Several years after my encounter with Matthew 6, I wrote the answer to my own question. “Yes— tuition, books, gas and so much more!” In spite of discouragement and fear, God provided material needs, emotional support, spiritual strength, and encouragement—always in His time. Life is continually a matter of praying, trusting, and waiting.

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7 NRSV).