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"Heaven's Cure for Earth's Care" (posted November 2, 2004)
Your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.
- Luke 12:30-31
Is it possible to be emancipated from the thousand and one forms of pressure to which we are subject so long as we remain in a world which has been disarranged by sin? The answer to this question will be very largely determined by our attitude to the Book which we call the Bible. For, if we believe that Book to be the completed revelation of God to man--literally given by inspiration of God--we have within our reach, here and now, assurances and promises by Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth, our heavenly Father, which will not only counteract all tendency to worry, but which will also enable us to live sunlit, victorious lives.
Restfully recognize God's all-wise providence
The reader will find it helpful to consider prayerfully Luke 12:22-34. It is a complete and inclusive utterance, in which the model Preacher argues (verses 22-23), illustrates (verses 24-28), and appeals (verses 29-34).
Here the Master unveils some of His most wonderful teaching. He points to the little birds of the air, which pour forth their profuse strains of unpremeditated art, and shows that God knows and cares for even the most worthless of them. He takes up the flower of the field, with its simple natural adorning, and shows that its glory outshines that of the greatest of earth's potentates: "Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these" (verse 27). And from the fact that God feeds the sparrow and clothes the lily, our Lord goes on to assure us that our heavenly Father is intimately acquainted with our needs, and to urge us to banish from our hearts all corroding care.
Habitually enjoy His surpassing peace
"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" (Philippians 4:6-7).
It is clear from these words that the heart of the Christian is like a castle besieged by malignant foes. These enemies are care, worry, doubt, anxiety, unrest--any one of which, if admitted, will destroy that rest of heart which is essential in all who would bear witness for God.
To guard against such invasion a heavenly garrison is placed at our disposal; and this heavenly garrison encamps around those who comply with the conditions laid down in verse 6, in order to give them the protection promised in verse 7. The result will be a peace that outsoars and transcends the loftiest conception of the human mind; and, in the enjoyment of it, we shall be able to face all hostile intelligences.
A word of caution: Philippians 4:6-7 counsels us unreservedly to make known in the presence of God all that concerns us; but these verses do not say that God will answer all our requests at the time at which, and in the way in which, we ask Him. In the presence of many of the dark problems of life, we may be devoid of understanding; but we know that our Father is standing by, and that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
Constantly verify His all-inclusive promise
"As your days, so shall your strength be" (Deuteronomy 33:25). "Sometimes," says John Newton, "I compare the troubles we have to undergo in the course of a year to a great bundle of sticks far too large for us to lift. But God does not require us to carry the whole at once. He mercifully unties the bundle and gives us first one stick, which we are able to carry today, and then another, which we are able to carry tomorrow, and so on. This we can easily manage, if we could only take the burden appointed for us each day; but we choose to increase our trouble by carrying yesterday's stock over again today, and adding tomorrow's burden before we are required to bear it."