Summary: We all have things we're unsure about regarding the future. How do we give our anxieties to God and trust Him to handle the future? Check out these thoughts from our Family Minister, Scott Jewell.

We’re wrapping up our series on Insomniacs: Things that keep you up at night. Last week we looked back and talked about handling regret. Today we’re looking forward to the future, dealing with our anxieties.

What about the future makes us worry? I took an unofficial FB poll this week- what about the future keeps you up at night? A couple of my college buddies decided to give smart aleck responses and answered indigestion from spicy food and acid reflux. Another mentioned waiting on the alarm clock. I wondered about that one, but then I woke up at 4:30 this morning, then 5:15 and 5:30 and 6:00… The next person responded stupid people- I wondered if he was reacting to the first couple of responses.

Then some people started sharing and a few categories seemed to emerge. They were worried about personal things- where will I live, what’s going to happen with my job, dealing with health struggles, trying to overcome the temptation to sin. They were worried about family- how will we spend time together as the kids move away, what kind of legacy will I leave them. They were worried about politics- who’s going to be in charge of the nation and even the world, especially in light of recent developments in Ukraine. They were worried about religion- from the lack of unity and growing divide in the church to whether or not I’ll be ready when Christ returns.

There seems to be a common thread through all these. We like to think we’re in control of our future. Our anxiety tends to kick in when we focus on the things that aren’t fully under our control. We try to create methods of control that may or may not work to convince ourselves that we’re in charge of our destiny.

For example, my dad has a clipboard that he famously uses to prepare for vacation. The first page has a checklist of all the needed supplies that should be in the camper before we leave. The next page has a packing list for each of us to use to make sure we have the appropriate clothing and supplies to enjoy the planned activities. The next pages contain the schedule. We’ve got to be up at 6 to be on the road by 7 to get to the campground in time to set up and enjoy these activities there. Every day is fully spelled out and don’t you dare sneak in and cross something off. In fact, I think each of my sisters tried to hide the clipboard just to see Dad get all worked up over not knowing the plan.

One other answer caught my eye as it reminded me of someone I knew a while back. They wrote that they don’t worry because God tells us that worry is a sin. However, they do have a number of concerns. That’s just like us when it comes to trying to justify sin. We relabel it or explain away why it’s okay in this case. We’re really just looking to hold on to sin rather than turn things over to God.

Jesus addresses this in the sermon on the mount in the text we read earlier. He doesn’t really hold back. I think this is where Bob Newhart learned his counseling method. The client comes in and begins to complain and Newhart simply responds with, “Stop it!”

Read Matthew 6:25 again. Do not be anxious about the things you consume or the clothing you wear. Why does Jesus get after what seems to be something small? Because there’s more to life. We tend to major in the minors and forget that the devil is in the details.

He then gives us a couple examples from nature for assurance. Read Matthew 6:26- look at the birds of the air, they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns. They don’t spend long days at work and yet, what does God do for them? He feeds them! Read Matthew 6:28-29- look at the lilies of the field. They don’t have to toil or spin to grow. No trips to the gym, nothing. Yet King Solomon, with all his wealth and finery, in all his glorious array had nothing on them. These things are only temporary, yet God looks after them. How much more important to God is your eternal soul? He knew you before you were even born, He knows the number of hairs on your head, even if that number is declining.

Jesus continues by pointing out the effect on our health when we worry. Read Matthew 6:27. Not only do we not add time to our lives, we actually take time away. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a number of bad effects to our bodies when we worry- it impacts our bodies, our mood, and our behavior.

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