Divine Provision for Anxiety
SABBATH SCHOOL INSIGHT #2
"Divine Provision for Anxiety"
January 8, 2011
Twins Joseph and Jenna returned from school one day to see their mom sitting on the floor surrounded by small piles of pictures. “What are you doing mom?” they asked her. “Just organizing these pictures to put in a scrap book,” she replied. Soon the twins’ dad came in, discouraged because he still could not find a job. Seeing his wife sitting on the floor, he decided to take over organizing the pictures, so she could prepare supper. Later the family gathered for their customary evening devotions. Just prior to opening the Bible, the father held up two pictures he had picked out of the pile of photos on the floor. One was of his daughter in a bathrobe just after her operation for a ruptured appendix. The second photo showed their old car which frequently needed repairs.
Impatient for devotions to begin, Joseph asked his dad what these two old photos had to do with worship. “Just this,” replied his dad. “Remember when Jenna had that operation? She could have died, but God is so good to us – He healed her and gave back her health, and our insurance actually covered the bill. And remember when the transmission had to be replaced? We had no money, but God provided the money through that painting job on old Mr. Wilson’s home.”
Still puzzled, Joseph said, “But Dad, what does all of this have to do with worship?”
“Son,” the father replied. “I think God wants us to always remember what He’s done for us in the past. As He was faithful then, He will continue to lead and help us in the future.” Then he opened his Bible and read from Psalm 77:11, 12. “I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember Thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all Thy work, and talk of Thy doings.”
Do you have stressors in your life that cause problems in the present and worries about the future? A good way to banish worry is to remember what God has done for you in the past, and to believe He will help you now. Luke 21:34 says, “Take heed to yourselves, lest at anytime your hearts are overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, so the day come upon you unawares.”
The Bible has a lot to say about cares and worries. Remember the story of Mary and Martha? Let’s look at the passage in Luke 10:38-42
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he (Christ) entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Jesus’ answer to Martha shows that the real issue was not the amount of work needing to be accomplished. The real issue was the condition of Martha’s heart.
In verse 40, we see that Martha was ‘cumbered’ with care. The word ‘cumbered’ in Greek is perispao, which means to be distracted with care, to be troubled or distressed. Martha was anxiously weighted or burdened with her concerns. She was so frustrated, that she could not really ‘see’ Jesus as He was (is), which is the one constant in life. This inability to see Him clearly led her to place blame on Mary, and even on Jesus, leading her to imply that He did not care about her sufferings.
Martha’s question is all too common. Jesus, who is the one consistent, eternally loving, infinitely wise being in our lives, so often hears us cry out, “Why aren’t you constant in your care and provision for me?” We, who are so hopelessly faulty and inconsistent, ask Him this!
Consider the anxious disciples who were caught in a strong storm on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:35-41). Jesus was peacefully asleep in the hull of the boat while the disciples battled with the raging sea. “Master!” they called, after it became clear that their most heroic efforts were insufficient to keep the ship afloat, “Don’t you care that we perish?”
Like Martha, their anxiety led them to misjudge their Savior. Have we not said the same thing –
Jesus! Don’t You care? Why are You letting this happen to me?” We who are fickle and inconsistent, are asking the eternally vigilant, eternally constant One, “Why aren’t you constant in your care and provision for me?”
When someone hurls such an accusing question at us, we feel offended. But Jesus, in His tender love and compassion, ignores the personal insult and calms the storm through His Father’s word, saying, “Peace be still.” Then, after giving His disciples another evidence of His love and care for them, Jesus says to them sadly, “How is it that you have no faith?”
In Desire of Ages, Ellen White wrote regarding this experience, “When Jesus was awakened to meet the storm, He was in perfect peace. But He rested not in the possession of almighty power. It was not ‘as the Master of earth, sea and sky’ that He reposed in quiet. That power He had laid down, and He says of Himself, ‘I can of mine own self do nothing’ (Desire of Ages, page 336, italics added for emphasis). This brings to mind a line from a Scott Kryppane song, “Sometimes He calms the storm, and sometimes He calms the child.”
God has given all mankind emotions so that we may experience the beauty of love and joy and peace. In the body we receive information and sensations which are then translated into emotions. Negative emotions such as anxiety and fear alert us that we need to cast our cares upon Christ, our divine Care Giver. Often during our Christian walk, faith and feelings part ways. The mind that is stayed upon the Word is the mind that will find peace in the midst of the storm. Let us by all means endeavor to live by the Word in all things – remembering and rehearsing the ways He has answered our prayers, and fulfilled His promises to us in the past.
The divine perscription for anxiety and fear is trust - - rest and trust (Psalms 37:7, 40).
The Lord says in Isaiah 41:10 "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."