“Worry No More”

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father…

Please pray with me…

I recently had a conversation with a good friend of mine about faith in God’s Word. To believe every word, every letter definitely takes a lot of faith. This whole conversation came up because we had each met people in the Lutheran church who had questioned the authenticity of some of it. Did it really happen or is it just a story to teach a lesson. Did the story of Noah really take place? (The movie that started this whole conversation) Is the story of Adam and Eve real? Did all those plagues in Egypt come from God or could they have been natural, maybe a case of incredible timing? Did Jesus really rise from the grave?

These questions are logical in a way because each Sunday we are asked to put our full trust and faith in God. Our Gospel lesson this morning actually starts out with this command when Jesus tells us and His disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.” So we worry, does the fact that I have questions show of a lack of faith on my part? Is my thinking a way of limiting God?

Well, yes it is. You see, we are finite people in a finite world that is governed by certain natural laws that tell us that these kind of miracles don’t happen. Our professors are speaking against it and others of no faith poo poo it as just another fantasy Christians get lost in. So we hear this doubt they spew out and we worry.

The good news is that Christ knows our limitations. He knows we’re not going to figure out some of the answers because we’re so limited ourselves. But He still asks us for complete and total faith regardless, because God will have no lesser requirements. So we worry, will we ever be able to get to that place.

Rick Warren says, “Worry is the warning sign that God is really not first in my life at this particular moment,” because worry says that God is not big enough to handle my doubts and my troubles. Jesus says in Matthew 6:33, But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” and He said that at the conclusion of an entire sermon on worry. The antidote to worry, Jesus is saying, is trust. Trust in God and trust in His Son. We are to put God first in all things.

Worry made Thomas doubt. Worry caused the disciples to run. Worry caused Peter to sink as he walked on water towards Jesus and it made him deny Christ when his life was put on the line. Worry happens when we stop trusting in God.

And Jesus, again, knows that we are bound to worry, because we are limited in our mindset and in our capacity to see the whole glory of God, so in our text today, Jesus is giving us reasons not to worry.

 

 

To get the proper perspective of what Jesus is telling us here, we have to understand the setting. Just before this, Jesus told His disciples that He would be leaving them, John 13:33 says, “Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.” He is talking to men who have given up everything to follow Him and now He is telling Him that He’s going someplace they can’t go? These men who had left their families, their jobs, their worldly dreams are now having to go it alone? We can imagine that they were just a little troubled.

 

And Jesus senses this in the first verse of our text saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” The Greek word for troubled here means, “To cause great distress.” Jesus could sense that their panic was great and, by His words, He starts to comfort them.

 

They were greatly concerned because they had never anticipated having to do this without Christ. They, like us sometimes, worried that their faith would not be enough to sustain them without the living breathing Son of God at their side. At one moment they lived in the security that Jesus would handle everything and in the next they were feeling incredibly unprepared. So Jesus commands them to “believe in God, believe also in me.” Worry is a sign of unbelief or at least a lack of trust and Jesus knew they would need every ounce of faith and trust for what was to lie ahead. He was telling them to believe that God is with them even if He leaves.

To us He has the same message, “Don’t worry, just believe, Don’t fret, just believe, Don’t focus on the doubt, Don’t take your eyes off Christ, Don’t focus on worldly things and worldly limitations, just believe.”

Pslam 42:5 says, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation.”

Corrie Ten Boom spoke of the unraveling effects of worry, when she said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but it empties today of its strength.”

I looked up the effects of worrying on one’s heath on Web MD and it said this, “Worrying is feeling uneasy or being overly concerned about a situation or problem. With excessive worrying, your mind and body go into overdrive as you constantly focus on “what might happen.” In the midst of excessive worrying, you may suffer with high anxiety — even panic — during waking hours. Many chronic worriers tell of feeling a sense of impending doom or unrealistic fears that only increase their worries. Ultra-sensitive to their environment and to the criticism of others, excessive worriers may see anything — and anyone — as a potential threat. Chronic worrying affects your daily life so much that it interferes with your appetite, lifestyle habits, relationships, sleep, and job performance. Many people who worry excessively are so anxiety-ridden that they seek relief in harmful lifestyle habits such as overeating, cigarette smoking, or using alcohol and drugs.”

No wonder that Jesus was so concerned. No wonder that Jesus remains concerned for us. Worry will do all that but it won’t make your problems go away, make you feel better or help you cope. It’s just sin in the form of anxiety. The only antidote to worry is faith.

And Jesus further comforts His disciples by assuring them that their separation would not be forever. He said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

In faith we know that these words to His disciples are also His words to us. We need not worry because Jesus has anticipated our arrival in paradise to be with Him and he has prepared a place for us when we get there. Jesus assures us that the reason that He left them in bodily form was to prepare for us ahead of time as only He , as our advocate, can. He is assuring us that there will be a place for us and all believers who put their faith and trust in Him and what He came here to do for us.

And the place He is preparing for us is a glorious place. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—

 

But, of course, having a place in heaven and getting there are two different things. So we waste our time worrying, “Am I good enough, have I done enough, am I faithful enough,” and the devil delights that we make his job so easy for him.

 

But Jesus’ goal is not to leave us stranded. His goal is that we all will be with Him in the place He has prepared for us. And He promises to come again in all His glory to take us with Him. Though He did not elaborate on the promise, His guarantee is unmistakable. His return is a certain as His departure was. And in this, we are to have no worry.

 

Some nine year old children were asked what they thought of death and dying. Jim said, “When you die, they bury you in the ground and your soul goes to heaven, but your body can’t go to heaven because it’s too crowded up there already.” Judy said, “Only the good people go to heaven. The other people go where it’s hot all the time like in Florida.” John said, “Maybe I’ll die someday, but I hope I don’t die on my birthday because it’s no fun to celebrate your birthday if you’re dead.” Marsha commented, “When you die, you don’t have to do homework in heaven, unless your teacher is there too.” Won’t it be glorious for those who believe to find out just what awaits them.

 

And, Jesus says, we can stop our worrying because we can count on Him to do what He says He will do. In verse 6 of our text, Jesus answers the question from Thomas, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way, “ By saying, “I am the Way, and the Truth and the Life.”

Jesus is the Way to heaven, Jesus is the truth of God’s promises to us and Jesus is the Life because He is the Way to everlasting life. Jesus is the Way that leads to truth and to life. Jesus is the Way to let go of all our worries because we can rely on Him to do what He says He will do. A certain commentary says, He did not claim merely to know the way, the truth and the life as a formula he could impart on the ignorant; but He actually claimed to be the answer to all of our human problems. He is not A way but the Way. He is not A truth but the truth. He is not A life but the life.

Jesus was speaking as one who had authority. He was not being flippant or egotistical, He as the author of truth was speaking the truth. He is the Way to the Father because He had the most intimate relationship with the Father. He is the truth because it is through Him that our salvation has been won. He is the Life because by His death and resurrection we have been given eternal life. He was not subject to death but made death nothing.

And because He is the way, the Truth and the Life we know we can depend on Him and shed the worries that the devil puts before us. Yes, we can trust in God’s word to be true, every letter, because he is not limited like we are. We no longer need to worry if we measure up because Christ has come to take those concerns away. We no longer need to worry about what lies ahead because Jesus has already assured us that we have a place in heaven reserved in our name.

Jesus will make a way where there is no way. He fills you with the truth even as the devil fills you with lies. Jesus will give you a life that no one, not even satan himself, can take away.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)Amen.

 

 

 

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