I do not like being late, I rarely am late, in fact a lot of the time I am early. I think this probably stems from growing up in Birmingham, attending a school with girls from all over the city, and without mobile phones (yes, such a time existed)! Therefore, whenever we met, we would set a time and a place, and you would have to be there. I was always the first one. I would get two buses earlier than I needed to, and then I would be about 20 minutes early and I would stand reading my book until my friends arrived. I didn’t want to miss out. I was always at school really early, and sat playing cards with my friends (I became quite the expert at Slam and Cheat). Even today, if I am catching a train I am normally there in time to catch the earlier one. I still get to school very early, although now I work rather than play cards!
Why am I telling you this? I do not like being late, and I get very worried and anxious if I am going to be ‘on the dot’ or late. I worry I am going to miss something, or that people will go without me. People may think I waste time by being somewhere so early, but I’d prefer to waste a bit of time than worry about being late. As an adult I have had to learn, with social occasions, that a meeting time is very much the earliest time. So I try to be ‘on time’ or a little bit late – but it is still a struggle to me. I do, what I need to do, to not worry.
Our promise from God this week is a promise that we do not need to be anxious. It comes from 1 Peter 5:7 and says
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
We all know now that I get anxious about being late, but we all have anxieties. Things which play on our minds and can get us wound up. What is really frustrating is that quite often our anxieties are things which only we understand, and I know I’ve said to people in the past “Why are you worrying about that?”. And then we worry that we are worrying about something silly and it becomes a vicious circle! We worry because it plays on our mind, because it is something we are genuinely concerned about. It is very much a real thing.
It is frustrating that our anxieties are only understood by us, but what makes it even more frustrating is that our anxieties are often created by us. I know that my friends wouldn’t have gone on without me, and that I don’t need to be 20 minutes early, but that doesn’t stop it being a worry for me.
The promise from God though recognises this, it doesn’t say that there will be no anxiety, in fact it acknowledges that there will be. But it does say that we can give our anxiety to God, because he cares for us. Anxiety is almost a necessity, if we didn’t get anxious then we’d possibly never get stuff done! But it can be a burden, and we are told that we can give our anxiety to God. This is a promise we see Jesus talking about in the Gospel of Matthew as well where he says
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
God cares for all of his creation, therefore we will be looked after. It is ok to be anxious, to care about things, but it can be unhealthy if we let it take over our lives. Therefore we need to trust that God will care for us, and will provide what we need. Afterall he has promised that he will.
Prayer: Thank you father that you created us, and you care for us. Help us to hand over our worries to you, so that we can work to your praise and glory. Amen
Challenge: If you see someone who is anxious about something this week. Don’t just say “There’s no need to worry about that” but acknowledge that it is something that they are worried about and ask if there is anything you can do to help.