“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34).
Maybe you hear this as a new Law at first, these words that Jesus speaks to His disciples about not being anxious. I do, sometimes. Because my first inclination is to say, “But, Jesus … ” and to start listing all the things I have to be worried about, to try and justify my anxious thoughts, and to show off just how much trouble today has already been. How can He possibly doubt that I need to get a jump-start on dealing with tomorrow?
But this encouragement from Jesus comes at the end of a long section of Gospel reminders of wonderful gifts of pure grace from our Heavenly Father, daily gifts He gives to all creation—unbidden and undeserved. Food for the birds of the air, garments of glory for the flowers in the field. All that we need is richly and daily provided to support this body and life. Therefore, Jesus assures us, we can joyfully cast our worries aside, boldly trusting in God’s gracious provision in all things.
More than Bad News
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose trust is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7–8
Perhaps, though, you feel like this is a new season of worries, one you’ve not dealt with or lived through before. It feels different this time. It’s not just a day or two of anxious thoughts; it’s been weeks and months. It’s like the full year of drought the prophet Jeremiah describes. And what a year it has been: a pandemic, ongoing societal and political upheaval, various weather crises across the country, financial instability—so much uncertainty has many people afraid to turn the calendar to the next page, fearful of what might be coming next. With a bit of dark humor, a friend shared a meme on Facebook that foretold of Godzilla-sized turkeys having their turn at us come November. “At least we have Thanksgiving to look forward to,” the meme read.
But even now, in these uncertain times, we have so much more than just bleak humor to share—we have a word of Good News! When all the world is filled with worry, and our friends and family don’t know where to turn, we can point them to God’s living Word: Jesus.
Trust the Lord to Provide
We who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior can face the uncertainties of the world—whether with regard to politics, disease, or other unknown future perils—trusting in the Lord to provide all we need. And we can serve our neighbor by living as a “peaceful presence” during these uncertain times, by modeling a life lived like that tree described by Jeremiah: a tree planted by a stream with roots that grow down deep to find water, even during the year of drought.
Planted by Jesus Christ, the water of life, and nourished by His Word, our roots will grow deep in the Lord. We do not have to fear these uncertain times; we do not have to be worried in this year of drought.
Prayer and Action
When our friends are vulnerable and share their worries with us, we can respond with compassion and empathy. We can offer comfort from Scripture and pray with them, encouraging them to bring their concerns to the Lord. Try to let any troubling (and often false) memes that get shared a million times on social media stop with you. Be a discerning and faith-filled social media user, providing a respite from fear and nervousness for your online acquaintances.
Don’t give up meeting together with your Christian family—in person if you can safely, or online if your church is still livestreaming and gathering by video conference for Bible study.
The people of God—gathered together in worship and prayer, studying God’s Word—can be a strong antidote to the troubles of the world. We come together as sinful people, broken by our worries and the cares of the world, burdened by our fears of tomorrow and all its unknowns. And we lay those burdens down at the cross. Jesus Himself is present in the Word and Sacraments. And having forgiven our sins, having provided all we need, He assures us once again, “Do not be anxious!” He is with you always.
Crisis brings anxiety. Christ gives us another way.