So much to worry about

This past year has offered us plenty to worry about. The threat of COVID-19 has moved in closer as friends and family members have fallen ill, and in some cases lost their lives, to this strange new virus. The pandemic has interrupted our businesses, churches, social activities, and academic life. Racial and political turmoil have strained the fabric of our communities. And after more than a year of social distancing, we worry about the emotional health of young and old alike.

Barely an hour goes by without the media reminding us things are not as they should be and that we have much to fear.

Perhaps like many people you’re aware of a growing uneasiness within, as you begin to realize you’re not in control. We have businesses to run, ministries to lead, families to raise—and yet we feel immobilized by fear and a loss of control.

How do we stop worrying when it feels like we’re standing on shifting sand? How can we stop worrying about the future when the present is so uncertain?

Ancient words, fresh perspective

A few weeks ago, I read these ancient words from the prophet Isaiah and can’t get them out of my mind.

“Who got things rolling here? Who did this? Who made it happen? Who always gets things started? I did. GOD. I’m first on the scene. I’m also the last to leave.
Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.”

These words are balm to a weary soul. We live out our days under the false illusion that we control so much. We think we initiated all the major activities in our lives through the decisions we’ve made. We launched our careers, our ministries, and our families; therefore, the responsibility for growth and success in all these areas rests solely on our aching shoulders. The pressure of holding everything together and measuring every moment’s success or failure is exhausting.

Isaiah paints a different picture for us. He reminds us that God got everything started—our vocational life, our ministries, our families, and to do that he also got our gifts and abilities and even our desires started. Yes, God held the desires of our hearts in his mind before we even conceived them. He was the first on the scene in every scene of our lives.

That business you worry about? He got it rolling.

That church you planted that’s struggling during COVID? He got it all started.

Your family that’s working, studying, exercising, and eating from home 24/7? He was the first on the scene, before you even said, “I do.”

He got everything started—all of it—and he promises to be the last to leave. Not only that, every day in between, he promises to help us and hold us steady. We can rest in uncertain times knowing he has a firm grip on us.

What are you worrying about today? Can you name it before God? Remember, God’s the one who got it all started for you. His plans are always good, and he will strengthen you in challenging times. Rest in his presence today, and entrust your heart’s deepest desire to him.