Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Christmas Countdowns and Worry

I think God has a marvelous sense of humor and subtle irony.  Take today, for instance.  Unlike usual, I took awhile to get to my quiet time.  In the hours before I actually cracked open my Bible and devotional book JesusCalling I had discussion with my husband about how the conflict between flesh and spirit—our inevitable human struggle—feeds our tendency to worry.  I also posted a futuristic Facebook status—a Christmas countdown clock.  So imagine my surprise when my devotional reading started off with these words: "Anxiety is a result of envisioning the future without Me.  So the best defense against worry is staying in communication with Me."  Later in the reading, it says "Do not linger in the future, because anxieties sprout up like mushrooms when you wander there."  And it refers to Luke12:22-26, so I read that and also the corresponding parts of Matthew6, which includes “Do not worry about tomorrow for today has enough troubles of its own” (Krabbe paraphrase).  All good stuff.  My favorite part is: "Anxieties sprout up like mushrooms." It's a great statement, because indeed they do.  And you know what they say about mushrooms…they grow out of cr--.  Except that the ones in my yard are growing out of grass, and trees, and mulch, and just about everything else.  But you get the idea.

So I realize that a Christmas countdown isn’t exactly worrying about the future, but it is certainly a part of lingering in the future.  It’s an opportunity for mushrooms to pop up in the midst of my attempts to be better about planning ahead.  Especially since James warns us not to boast about what we will do tomorrow. 

Today is also the day after a presidential debate.  The social media is full of commentary about both candidates and their faux pas.  My favorite post, however, said “No matter who is president, Jesus is king.”  Can’t argue with that.  Ok I’m sure somebody could, but I don’t.  It puts everything in perspective.  Just like watching the movie Argo did.  Except for the cars, clothes and hairstyles, the story in Argo of American embassy workers being held captive in Iran could just as easily be happening today.  Some things just don’t change all that much.  And I think that was my husband’s point—we’re still humans doing stupid human things, but God’s still God and he’s got this covered….whatever the “this” for today happens to be.  And the “this” for tomorrow, too.

The problem is that I don’t think we like that reality very much.  It can be comforting to know that God’s in charge, but only if things are going the way you want them to.  What about when they’re not?  I guess that’s the weird thing—knowing God’s in charge is comforting then, too, if you have experienced God’s love and graciousness.  If your understanding of God is only wrath and righteousness, than that’s not going to help you much.

And maybe the problem is that all that is just too much thinking about stuff.  Focusing on today sounds much better to me.  Thanks, God, for today.  And for fun websites, and captivating movies, and for your Son who was born on Christmas.  See?  I’m not so far off after all.  It just takes me a while to get there.

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