Before you shrug off the rhetorical question, consider this: Many of us right now are allowing worry about an uncertain future to steal away today’s joy.
I’ve been struck by this as so many Christian friends fret over the sorry mess that is our nation’s political landscape. Worry and its frequent companion, discouragement, have spread like influenza among people who really ought to know better.
Worry not only whisks away peace and perspective, but also tarnishes the witness of Christians who insist they believe God actually owns the future. And, just to be clear, God does own the future.
“… the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world,” says the Old Testament book of Daniel. “He gives them to anyone He chooses – even to the lowliest of people.”
I gently confronted a pastor friend of mine the other day after he lambasted fellow ministers for failing to rally their churches politically. He worries – and I use the word deliberately – that apathy is costing Christian conservatives their influence in elections.
To be fair, apathy has long been a cancer eating away at American democracy, whose lifeblood is a people faithfully participating in their own government. Ignoring that stewardship – by failing to vote our conscience – is an inexcusable and costly laziness.
But the way to confront apathy is not worry; it’s faith. Faith calls us to trust that God uses the actions of people to accomplish his purposes. We can rest in his sovereign control of all things, whether we personally like the outcomes or not.
Did you catch the last part of that verse from the book of Daniel? Sometimes God sovereignly sets the lowest of people over a nation’s affairs.
To sense this happening in real time – and worry that somehow God has lost control of things – is just not biblical thinking. Such worry is a terrible waste of time and a terrible blemish on Christian testimony.
Jesus asks, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”
His point is obvious: We’re not meant to carry the weight of things we do not control. That’s God’s job.
Our job – our privilege, really – is to diligently do what God directs us to do, like being good stewards of our right to vote, but then trust him with the outcome. Surely this basic truth applies to election outcomes.
Lest I give a wrong impression, I tend to worry a bit myself. Don’t you?
By nature, we’re self-centered, control-oriented people.
In fact, it is a perceived loss of control that seems to be fueling the worry and discouragement of so many conservative Christians these days. We’re just not getting the results we used to get, some say, when it comes to political influence.
Let me suggest another perspective: Is it possible God is showing us that we don’t really control things anyway? Is it possible he is teaching us to trust in him, not the scenery we feel we deserve?
To live with the delusion of control is an affront to faith, which calls us to trust in God, not the outcomes we hope to get from him.
At the risk of sounding preachy, let me also suggest that worry is not only unproductive – it’s also a sin. The worrisome heart says to God: “I don’t think you can handle what’s happening right now.”
The antidote for worry is not the absence of trouble, it is trust in God.
On this point, we do well to let God have the last word: “Why am I discouraged?” says the psalm. “I will put my hope in God!”
Steve Massey is pastor of Hayden Bible Church (www.haydenbible.org). He can be reached at (208) 772-2511 or email@example.com.
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