If Jesus cares for the tiniest of creatures, then certainly we don't have to worry about what we're going to eat or drink or wear because He knows our needs.
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 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?" Matthew 6:25-26 (NIV)
When I moved to Nashville years ago in pursuit of a music career, I never imagined I would land here. Here, on the Amazon River, where the day starts when the sun rises, and morning comes early.
The complexity of the jungle sent my head spinning — the fact that all this grows and thrives without Wall Street, smartphones and us! I felt appropriately small. I couldn't get over the countless symbiotic relationships: this creature surviving off that tree, relying on that seed, transported by those birds. It was astounding how everything hung in this delicate balance, how in the beautiful and mysterious words of Colossians 1:17b, in Christ "all things hold together."
Often I think I'm the one holding things together. I get busy with appointments, planning dinner, waiting to hear if a friend's news from the doctor is hopeful. I fall into this mentality that keeping all these plates spinning is life, while the jungle life appeared so effortless.
The gentle and imposing stature of the jungle convicted and humbled me, as I crunched atop its brush and beneath its canopy.
How much more, God seemed to be saying, do I care for you if I care for the birds who have no barns, the flowers who needn't spin nor toil for their splendor? In Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, He points to His custody of nature, proving if He cares for the tiniest of creatures, certainly we don't have to worry about what we're going to eat or drink or wear, because He knows our needs.
I don't rely on this truth enough, since food, garments and shelter are readily available where I come from — at least for most people. I knew God called His people to meet the needs of the poor, to tangibly demonstrate He knows their needs and intently cares to meet them. I believed this, but what I didn't know was how personal it would feel.
While there, I visited a village school in Chita. With about 20 children ages 3 to 10 in the room, our program included singing, a puppet show and Bible story.
When asked if anyone would like to come up for prayer, a 4-year-old boy named Yan leaped from his chair. Yan turned back to grab his mother's wrist, dragging her forward. "We need a house," he said matter-of-factly.
I bowed my head, realizing I'd never prayed for God to provide someone with a house before. Sure, I'd prayed with friends to "find a house," but what I meant was they'd find a good house in a solid school district with low taxes ... maybe near a swimming pool, good church and a park. I didn't actually mean find a house.
When it was time to say goodbye to the villagers in Chita, there stood Yan alone on the shore. I hated to leave that little boy. As the wind blew across my skin and the banks thick with trees moved past us, I was lulled into reflection.
A 4-year-old boy taught me something about dependence and prayer, and the jungle itself had also spoken. Walking through the rainforest was like walking through a cathedral.
There was something holy about encountering creation the way the psalmist speaks of the heavens declaring God's glory, breathing out utterances that reach to the ends of the earth. Here I was, at the ends of the earth, and He was still there. And His eye was on the sparrow ... a little sparrow named Yan, and a slightly bigger sparrow named Kelly.
Dear Heavenly Father, I proclaim You as my Provider. Worry, striving and fretting are not from You, because You care for my every need. Please give me the grace to trust You with all that's weighing on my mind and heavy on my heart. When my anxiety becomes overwhelming, give me the peace of Christ that transcends my understanding. Thank You for promising to never leave me nor forsake me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Matthew 7:7, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (NIV)
Colossians 1:17, "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Pinpoint a present worry or concern, then meditate on the key verses of Matthew 6:25-26. What truth speaks to your current anxiety?
We read in Colossians 1:17 that Christ holds all things together. What practical steps can you take to entrust your concerns to His Almighty care?