Last week while eating lunch with friends, Zane accidentally took a big drink of his friends soda instead of his own chocolate milk which he was expecting. He immediately spit the coke all over his grilled cheese sandwich and french fries, rendering the whole meal inedible. I’ve felt like him before though. It goes right along with the sermon at my church today entitled, “Life Is Like a Box of Chocolates.” I’ll be going about my life when suddenly, I’m not anywhere near where I expected to be. Our pastor, Jon, reminded us that we have to keep our focus on Jesus and not focus on the situation that is causing the anxiety or you’ll end up like Zane, ruining a perfectly delicious sandwich. We control our reactions to the situations.
In May, I ended my career as a teacher because I felt confident that God had called me away. Away to what, you might ask? That, my friend, is an excellent questions. It’s a question I ask Him many times a day myself and an answer I still don’t have a clear answer to. When my eyes start to stray away from Him, when I start to look at my circumstances and our finances, I start to stress out. It brings to mind two Bible stories.
The first is when Jesus calls Peter to step out of the boat and walk on the water with him. Peter does it. He hears the call. He steps out of the boat. He stands up, his eyes fixed on Jesus. He takes one step and then another. Amazing. Suddenly, he starts looking around. He starts to notice the waves crashing around him, splashing his legs. He realizes that this isn’t natural. People can’t do this. People can’t walk on water. He starts to sink. The moment he took his eyes off of Jesus and focused on the situation around him, the situation consumed him. He had, as Jon called it today, “success amnesia.” He’d forgotten the times Jesus had come through for him in his times of need, when he’d trusted. In poor, daft, Peter’s sake, it had only been a matter of minutes ago. Jesus asked him, “Why do you have such little faith?” I feel myself walking on the water. I’m trusting that He will provide. I know that He called me out of the boat. I’ve stepped out. I’ve kept my eyes on Him, but lately, I’ve started looking around and seeing the day coming up when my paycheck will stop coming. I see the bills pouring in and I start sinking. I cry out to Him to save me and He does. Time and time again, He saves me, but He keeps asking me, “When will you believe that I will provide for you? Have I ever let you drown?”
I’m reminded of the father who asked Jesus to heal his son. Jesus tells him he must believe. The man proclaims, “I believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” The man said in the same breath that he believed but he wasn’t sure he did at the same time. He thought he believed, but maybe he actually didn’t because he was consumed by worry. If he truly believed, he would have believed from the get go that Jesus could save his son. I am like this man. I say I believe, but then when I see no change in my situation in my timing, I start thinking I need to take matters into my own hands.
When I keep my eyes on him, when I believe He is who He says He is, when I believe He loves me and works all things together for my good, then I can take the stress from my shoulders knowing that I’m not in control. I never was, and I don’t have to be. What a relief. I don’t want that responsibility. My responsibility is my reaction. All I have to do is take my anxiety to my Father and let Him handle it.