Hovering between Hope and Fear
22And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious [to hover between hope and fear] about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
As I read over this very familiar and well-worn passage today my mind wandered to Adam and Eve before the fall into sin. I’m fairly certain they were not scrambling for food, and we know they were naked, so clothes weren’t even a thought. In Eden there were no worries.
The word used for “anxious” and “worried” in the Greek literally means to “hover between hope and fear”. Isn’t that just a perfect definition of what we do when we worry? Our minds wander back and forth between hoping for the best and expecting the worst. And honestly, we probably spend the majority of that time perseverating on the worst. Worry is a killer of joy, peace, and even relationships. And Jesus nails it when He focuses on clothing and food; two of the basic necessities of life. There’s a reason He had to spend some time teaching His disciples about the pitfalls of worry. It is ubiquitous to the human condition.
I don’t consider myself much of a worrier. But with that said, even a “non-worrier” can spend mental energy on stuff that just doesn’t matter in the long run. Food and clothes aside, I now spend my worry-time on things that are 100% out of my control, generally involving the thoughts and actions of others. You want to talk about a waste of time – there it is!
Even as He gives us this warning about the negative consequences of worry, Jesus also gives a solution; build up your treasures in heaven (the Kingdom of God). Nothing can steal what you have stored up in God’s house. Those treasures include a deep and abiding relationship with the God of the Universe, the works you accomplish through the Holy Spirit in Jesus name, the fruit of the Spirit (i.e. love, joy, peace . . . you know the list), the people you have shared the Gospel with – the list is of our heavenly treasures is long! Hold these things up to clothes or food and the comparison become glaringly obvious. Food and clothes – who cares?! Faith, peace, eternity with God – those are the things that count and can never be taken away!
So – when you find yourself hovering between hope and fear, don’t succumb to the fear. Instead, focus your mind and heart on what matters – your life with Christ. When the fear returns (and we all know that it will) demand that your mind focus once again on Christ. It can become a habit!