FIRST: JESUS SAYS, ‘DO NOT WORRY.’
Just in case we didn’t hear Him when he said it the first time, or got distracted when he said it the second time, he says it three times in this passage—do not worry. But did you catch the word that comes right before each time he says it? Verse 25—Therefore, I tell you, do not worry. Verse 31—So, do not worry. And Verse 34—Therefore, do not worry.
-It means that we’re meant to know something that spiritually removes worry and anxiety.
What’s the Therefore?
What’s the reason of our peace? It’s the truth that, in Christ, God is our loving heavenly Father. This is what chapter 6 in this Sermon on the Mount is all about.
-It’s all about the Father. Starting at the very beginning, Jesus tells us of the Father who sees.
-And then when he comes to prayer, we are told of the Father who knows and who hears. -And now here, we’re told that God is our Father who cares and who provides.
What is our “therefore”? That God sees, he hears, he knows. he cares, and he supplies. What does Peter say in 1 Peter 5:7? “Cast all your fears upon him for”—here’s the reason—“he cares for you.” This is the background to our life—the sovereign care of our heavenly Father.
-But the problem that Jesus points out in verse 25 is that too often we’re only focused on the things that are seen.
We’re focused on the wrong things and asking the wrong questions. All we’re focused on is our immediate needs and all we’re asking is what if: What if I don’t get …? What if this happens …? What if my needs …?
So, what does Jesus do? Starting in verse 26, he brings these things into view. He says, “Look at the birds of the air and the lilies of the field.” Who feeds them? Who dresses them? It’s God! God is managing the entire bird economy. And God is in control.
What is he doing? He’s getting us to see the spiritual realities of the things unseen.
He is saying, “Imagine a Father who has birds for pets. And these birds don’t work; they don’t toil; they are not stressed out. And yet they’re fed every day.
-Now, how irrational would that Father have to be to care more for his birds in the cage than for his own children in the house? And this same Father has a garden of flowers. How crazy would that Father have to be to care more about his flowers than his very own children?
And this is why Jesus says, “Are you not much more valuable than they?” And the answer is … “Of course you are! In me, God is your Father and you are his children!” And every Father in his right mind knows how much he cares for his children.
What is Jesus doing? He’s getting us to see the things that not seen. The things that are not so obvious—that behind every good thing in all creation is the loving sustaining hand of our heavenly Father—never mind his very own children.
This is what Jesus wants us to remember and be reawakened to.
Because if we don’t and if we’re not, there’s ultimately no long-term solution for our anxiety.
Where is God?
One of the questions that I always start getting as a pastor in times like this is, “Where is God?”
-I understand and deeply sympathize with the question. I do.
-But I need to ask why is it only in the hard times that we tend to ask this question? When the sun is shining, and times are good, and life is comfortable, and our health is strong, why aren’t we plagued in those moments with the question, “Where is God?”
Well, the Bible tells us:
-It’s because sin blinds us from the reality of God’s goodness. So, when times are good, we tend to ignore God, but when times are bad we tend to blame God.
-Sin blinds us from the reality of God’s loving care that he gives every day—in the day of prosperity and in the day of adversity.
Where is God? Well, let me ask you … Where was Jesus? Remember Jesus said, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” So, where was Jesus? In John 2 we find him in Cana making wine at a wedding. But then in John 11, we find him in Bethany crying tears at a funeral. Where is Jesus? He’s at the wedding and at the funeral. And if you’ve seen Jesus, you’ve seen God. So, where is God?
-He’s at the wedding and at the funeral.
-God is there in our good days and in our bad days.
-Because He is the God of Good Friday and the God of Easter Sunday.
-He is the God of the spectacular and God of the ordinary and mundane.
-He is the God of the hills and the God of the valleys.
-He is God in the midst of our laughter and in the midst of our tears.
-He is God when the economy is up and God when the economy is down.
-He is God in the light and God in the dark.
Where is God?
-God is with us.
-He’s in both places—He’s in all places.
-He is carefully and sovereignly in control of it all.
-He is our ever-present help in time of need. That’s the reality!
So, the problem isn’t with God, the problem is with us. The problem, Jesus says, is that we forget the true things of life. So, worry anxiety comes from obsessing over the wrong things—our immediate issues and asking the wrong question—what if! What if this happens? And what if that happens? That’s the question that breeds anxiety, worry, and fear, because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, only God does.
The question that brings peace and hope and strength is
“Who is my God? Who is our God?
What do we profess to believe as Christians?
-He is the one who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think.
All we’re focused on is our immediate needs and all we’re asking is what if: What if I don’t get …?