“My heart is not proud, LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.” Psalm 131: 1-3
Lost world – going to hell/ check. Need to evangelize the lost world/ check. The economy in the pits/ check. The government out of control/ check. Family members and friends sick or in need/ check. Doctor’s report- gotta lose weight, change the numbers, fix the risk factors/check. People we care about who make stupid decisions/ check. Terrorism on the rise/ check. Gotta be more spiritual/ check. Yada, yada, yada!
This mini-checklist of worries is the undercurrent of the morning and evening news, and the secular and faith-based media. We are inundated with the fabric of woes and called to have some sort of response countless times each day. Even though most of these things are beyond our immediate control, they still act as wood for the fire of our collective anxiety.
Spending a few minutes with a checklist of worries will make amateur philosophers out of most of us. Before long, our minds will ask the famous questions of every investigative reporter: who, what, when, why, where. Where is God? What is He up to anyway? Why do the wicked triumph? What is the purpose of suffering? Does prayer really do any good? Can I find a formula for spiritual victory? Does God still love me even if I’m broke? Can I figure it out and tell others? Here’s the truth, plain and simple, there is just a whole lotta stuff to fret about. No wonder Jesus told his disciples, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled.” Like a wild horse, If we let them, they will carry us away with anxiety.
When my daughters were young, we used to read a book that has now become a favorite with my grandchildren. It’s called, Guys From Space. It’s a short story about a young boy who sees a spacecraft land in his backyard while his mom is weaving a rug in the basement. He asks and she grants permission for him to go with these aliens on a space trip if they can be back by dinner, and then she continues to weave. He has no space helmet (which is required of course) and so the space guys put his dog’s water bowl on his head, upside down so that the bowl now reads god instead of dog. The spacecraft takes off and eventually lands on a strange planet where they find unusual creatures and talking rocks who have discovered root beer and ice cream, and who have a root beer stand. The space guys have never heard of root beer floats before. So after paying for them with ten plastic fish, they rush back to the space craft in order to return the young boy to his home before dinner and to make it back to their own planet with the news of ice cream in root beer, where they are sure to be entrepreneurial heros. The boy returns to find his mother still weaving as she listens to his tale and asks him to get the dog’s dish off his head and wash up for dinner. She ends the story by telling her son that she was glad he had a good time.
Mom was weaving a rug while her son was weaving an adventure. She couldn’t afford to get all caught up in his adventure or to even find out if it was real. Likewise, he wasn’t interested in rug weaving. Their mutually exclusive worlds came together at dinner where everyone was family.
Here’s my point, some folks seem to want the rest of us to jump on the bandwagon of their checklist and fret along with them. However, some of us just want to weave rugs, and that’s all right. We attend church services or conferences and often come away hyped up about something: a world to save; an economy to fix; a spiritual battle to wage somewhere. Sometimes, it’s all just too much. Go ahead, call me a baby if you want, but I still think that one of the best warfare strategies is to hide from enemy fire – behind a very large rock.
There is an awful lot about this broken cosmos that you and I cannot do a single thing about. Please understand, we do what we can with genuine concern as the Holy Spirit leads us. But then God has provided for us to find rest and shelter. Sometimes, faith and fear masquerade as each other, as do worry and prayer. A discerning person is able to mark the difference and respond appropriately.
A few years ago I wrote a song called, Sabbath Rest. The verses express this sentiment and I hope they will help you find balance and rest – like a weaned child with its mother.
There is a voice that’s calling me. It bids me to become complete. While in pursuit of holiness, my soul longs for your sabbath rest.
O Shelter that my heart desires, come quench the burning of these fires, and lead me to that haven blest, that give my soul its sabbath rest.
In time of plenty or in need, my soul has found a place to feed, a table in the wilderness the promise of your sabbath rest.
O Saviour thou art fair and sweet, you bid me lay down at your feet and gently soothe me from the test, and give my soul your sabbath rest.