Entrusting the Future to God
It was a cool March evening, just days before my second child was going to be born. I rocked my son, Jude, looking down into his flushed, feverish face. He was fighting croup, a sickness all of my siblings and I have been hospitalized for. Worry was threatening to overwhelm my mind and heart — all those familiar feelings of fear and “what ifs” bombarding me. In my weakness, I called out to the Lord: “Oh, Father, if it is this difficult to fight worry with just one child, will I be able to handle two?” In the moments that followed, I was reminded of the many, many times I have entrusted those I loved to Him — my husband, my children, my family — and His never-ending faithfulness in each situation we have faced. Every financial difficulty, every strained relationship, and every seemingly insurmountable problem, when left at His feet, were used for my good and His glory.
As I meditated on His goodness, His peace washed over me. I knew that no matter what I was called to walk through in the future, I could entrust it to Him and walk in the grace He had given me for today.
Just take a moment to think about worry. It really does nothing to help, but only to hinder us in our faith. It takes our eyes off our Creator — the One who gives us the ability to breathe each breath and take each step — and turns our focus toward ourselves. Worry is evidence that we don’t truly trust God. We might say that we do, but if we are continually giving in to worry, we are displaying that we don’t believe what He says in His Word. Not only is worry an evidence of unbelief, but it can actually manifest itself in our bodies and cause us to have all kinds of physical problems — panic attacks, restless sleep, headaches, irritability, and many other things. The consequences of giving into the sin of worry are many.
The Bible speaks very plainly about having anxiety about the future. Matthew 6:25-34 is one of the classic passages where Jesus addresses this: “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? … Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? … Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Notice this: Jesus doesn’t promise we won’t have trials in the future. He doesn’t tell us that if we trust Him, everything will be all sunshine and butterflies for the rest of our lives. In fact, we see other places in Scripture that following Jesus will include many difficulties. What He does promise is that He knows us, loves us, and gives us all we need for each trial — that He will never leave us or forsake us, and that we will be filled with peace and joy in every moment.
If you have ever struggled with worry and fears about the future, you know it is easier said than done to turn over this area of your life to the Lord. I’d like to encourage you with a few ways you can begin to leave your future in the hands of Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
When worry threatens to overwhelm you, go immediately to the Lord. Whatever the situation, whether small or big, He wants to take that and replace it with His peace.
Turn Your Thoughts
One of my favorite quotes is by Martin Luther: “You cannot keep the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” Thoughts and feelings of worry will come, but it is what we do with them that is of the utmost importance. When I begin to have moments of worry about what is ahead, I start speaking Scripture to myself over and over again. My favorite verse to use is 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” I have been in situations when the feelings of worry come over me so fast I can barely breathe, but when immediately quote Scripture and begin acting upon it, the feelings disappear as quickly as they come.
Make Thanksgiving a Habit
One of the best ways to be proactive in fighting worry about what is to come is to thank the Lord. Thank Him for who He is, for what He has done, and for what He will continue to do. When we turn to Him with hearts full of gratitude that He will provide the grace we need, our worry will be replaced with joy.
This is a very practical one! Sometimes worry comes as the simple result of a lack of planning. Whether that puts you in financial difficulty, not having enough time to accomplish tasks, or not having enough food on hand for an event … whatever it may be! If you have a hard time with planning, sit down with someone who is able to help you process through what needs to be done and how to move forward. Worry is certainly something that is spiritual, but we can also help prevent it by taking simple measures of walking in wisdom. Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.”
If you look back over your life, I’m sure you can see evidences of God’s faithfulness and goodness over and over again, just as I can in mine. When we think about God being a God who never changes, and who never leaves or forsakes us, worrying about even the hardest of things seems silly. When we truly trust God with our future and whatever it may hold, we are able to say, like King David, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me” (Ps. 23:4). We have the hope of being with Jesus for all eternity, and there is nothing here on earth that can separate us from Him!