25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
As I’ve been working on grad school applications and studying for the GRE, I’ve been struggling with anxiety. Anxiety about what schools to apply to. Anxiety about whether my stats are good enough to get into school. Anxiety about whether I’ll even get in. Anxiety about what I’ll do if I don’t get in. Anxiety about whether I’ll get a good enough GRE score. I’ve just been worrying constantly. And it’s clearly shown in my health and physical body; I haven’t been eating as regularly, have been losing weight, haven’t been sleeping as much, and am currently sick. I’m constantly tired, weary, and stressed.
God helped me question the heart behind my anxiety. What was I so afraid of? What does my heart really value? Reputation? Job “security”? A top-ranked elite graduate program?
By God’s grace, His word showed me that my anxiety is a result of my unbelief in future grace and in the promises He has for me. God promises that He will supply our every need. His Word says that He cares for us and desires what is best for us, and He promises in Philippians 4:6-7 that when we present our requests to Him, He will give us a peace that is beyond our understanding. Why should I have to worry when God promises to take care of my every need? And whether or not the outcome is what I desire, God’s plan is greater and He still sovereignly works for my good. So I should trust Him.
God reminded me that my value and identity is not in the things of this world. He promises future grace through the work of Jesus Christ, and so what do I have to worry about? My future and my salvation is secure in Christ. I can trust in His plan and His work in my life because He is in control.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
“Do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
“Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
I have been meditating and clinging to these promises that God has given me through His Word. My limitations as a human (my inability to stay focused on studying for very long, my weariness from studying or work, my body wearing down) reveals the reality of my weak flesh, and all the more points to the Creator who is all sufficient in His grace for me. I pray that God would use my weaknesses to show His strength, and that I would lean not on myself but on Him for strength and perseverance to get through this trial.
On a side note, I have such a thankful heart right now. God has been so good in His mercies and grace to me in so many ways. First, for bringing my discipler Julia into my life. She has been such a huge blessing to me and has really challenged me in my walk with God, showing me what it means to really be a follower of Christ who treasures God’s Word. After my talk today I just felt an overwhelming sense of thankfulness for how God has placed her in my life! Having an older, wise woman who loves God is such an encouragement to me, and she always points me to gospel truths. Thank you Lord for blessing me with such a wise older sister!
Secondly, I’m thankful for Lighthouse Bible Church. God has given me such a precious church family of people who love God and love people. The preaching has really been so convicting for my heart in the past year (it’s been about a year since I first started going now!) and I’ve seen so much growth in my walk and an alteration in my view of God and the Word. I have a more biblical view of the importance of the church, because Christ loved the church. I’m so thankful for the brothers and sisters I’ve met through Lighthouse and how He has used the church to sanctify me in so many ways. Praise God for providing me with such a blessing!!
Thirdly, I’m thankful for my family that God has provided me with. It has been on my heart lately that my dad is probably not a believer, and I’ve discussed it with some of my sisters multiple times over the past few months. Last weekend, my parents got into an argument (I wasn’t there) and my mom later confided in me that God was speaking to her, saying that maybe my dad isn’t a Christian. While I was listening to her talk, my heart broke, yet I was so overwhelmed with thankfulness that God softened my mom’s heart to reveal that difficult reality to her. I could see that she was struggling to understand how that could possibly be after all these years, yet God was so gracious to allow her to respond with grace to my dad.
I can see how God is working in her heart to see my dad the way God sees him – as a sinner in need of Christ. It’s no longer important about whether my dad hurt us this many times, or to get him to admit that he was wrong. Ultimately, he is a sinner in need of the grace of God. He needs Christ. Only God can change his heart. I’m so thankful for that moment my mom shared that with me. I was bawling my eyes out. I later suggested starting a weekly family bible study, and we’ve had two bible studies so far. It’s been so encouraging, especially because we haven’t done bible studies as a family in so long. My heart was so full of joy as we sung praise songs to God! We’re going through Hebrews chapter by chapter and have been sharing prayer requests. I pray that God would use that time to work in my dad’s heart, and ultimately I pray for my dad’s salvation. I pray we would be a good witness to him and be patient with him in our words and actions. He is no worse than us! We are all wretched sinners, but God extended mercy to us not because of anything we’ve done, but because of what Christ is done.
To Him be the glory.