We Are Not Called to Worry

Image by spaceodissy

Lately I’ve been having a lot of conversations about singleness with friends of both sexes. Maybe it’s because it’s spring and with all the engagements, weddings, pregnancy announcements and new babies it seems like everyone we know is twitterpated. Maybe it’s because some are new friends and we haven’t had this conversation yet. Maybe it’s because we’re human beings in our 20s. Anyway, there’s been a lot of talk.

But something began to tug at my heart when I realized a couple of those friends and I frequently text each other complaining– via funny ecards, memes, or our own words– about being single. In the course of discussing a blog post about singleness and marriage, one friend said “I mean, doesn’t my future husband know I’m tired of waiting?! He needs to get here already!” I’ve said that too.

The first thing that came to mind, knowing my guy friends’ hearts, is “Don’t worry, he’s tired of waiting too!”

But we are called to other things in this season of singleness, however long it lasts. 1 Corinthians 7:34 says There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world– how she may please her husband. And lest we chafe at that, good ol’ Paul follows it with verse 35:  And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction. 

God has other work for us. 

My friend knows that. But she said “I feel like I’m more worried about when I’m going to get married. That’s just how it is.”

God is not calling us to worry about when we will get married.

Hear it from Jesus Himself in Matthew 6:25-34:

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry 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? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Therefore do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

When the Son of God specifically says not to worry, worrying is not “just how it is”. Worrying is sin.

Spurgeon says it succinctly: Remember this: had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there.

He has called us to concern ourselves with the “things of the Lord”. May we always, ever, only, pursue His kingdom and His glory… and not worry about a husband or wife until He gives us one!

Thinking, Feeling

Image by Victor Perez

I read this post on feeling and thinking on The Christian Pundit. I feel like it’s a common oversight I find in a lot of Christian books/resources/whatever written for women. They assume (and granted, most of them are written by women– this post was written by Rebecca VanDoodewaard) we”re all having problems with our feelings all the time and need to be more logical/practical/action-taking.

Me? I’m Margaret Thatcher. I’m sick of feelings. I don’t like taking others’ feelings into account, because I don’t much take my feelings into account. Feelings are feelings. Facts are facts. We shouldn’t confuse the one with the other, and for the most part I don’t.

But essentially I have the opposite problem Rebecca has. I jump right to the action: fixing the problem, finding the solution, praying the prayer, organizing the meals. What I’m not always good at is the feeling. Feeling grateful, thankful, or even hurt– God has designed us to do both.

We have different temperaments for a reason. Those of us who have trouble feeling should take time to be more compassionate, and those of us who feel deeply should work on responding and taking action. But we should also act like the different members of the Body we are and both enjoy and employ our gifts.

Encouragement from genealogy passages?

Freeze frame
Image by jinterwas

This year I am taking the 3650 challenge, where we read 10 chapters of the Bible a day. There is a wonderfully encouraging Facebook group where we talk about what we’ve read and challenges we’ve encountered or breakthroughs we’ve had. Today a woman noted that she’s struggling with the genealogy passages in Chronicles.

Several things have helped me:

  1. Listening to the genealogy passages rather than reading them myself. No skimming!
  2. Knowing that some in other cultures have been brought to Christ by these very passages, seeing the legitimacy and history of Jesus’ lineage.
  3. A friend once told me she likes to think of how God must read these lists. To Him it must be like flipping through a scrapbook of loved ones.
  4. Imagining the full, individual lives each of these people led. It also helps me be thankful I live after God sent His Son to die for us so we are no longer slaves to the Law but recipients of such grace.

Spurgeon on Worry

Let it Rain by Krikit
Image by Krikit

“Why do you worry? What possible use does your worrying serve? You are aboard such a large ship that you would be unable to steer even if your Captain placed you at the helm. You would not even be able to adjust the sails, yet you worry as if you were the captain or the helmsman of the vessel. Be quiet, dear soul– God is the Master!

“Do you think all the commotion and the uproar of this life is evidence that God has left His throne? He has not! His mighty steeds rush furiously ahead, and His chariots are the storms themselves. But the horses have bridles, and it is God who holds the reins, guiding the chariots as He wills!

“Our God Jehovah is still the Master! Believe this and you will have peace.”

(Charles Spurgeon, quoted in Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman)

How does your morning begin?

Open Bible by Ryk Neethling
Image by Ryk Neethling

Chris Brogan wrote today about “setting your plate” for success. Inspired by his reading of Deepak Chopra, he points out that if you’re checking your iPhone first thing in the morning you’re letting reaction to others’ thoughts/ideas/demands begin your day.

Until today, I’ve been doing this. Telling myself I’m jumping into being productive, I turn off my alarm and turn on my phone in almost the same motion, instantly encountering the ping-ping-ping of incoming emails and Facebook notifications. It is nice to be productive, but what have I done? I’ve let others’ priorities influence the first moments (or hour) of my day.

Now, I don’t have this off-centered approach to my whole life. I follow detailed, prioritized to-do lists to keep my days on track. I use the time when I’m most creative and productive– the evening– to my advantage. I get more done after 4pm than most people do all day (after I’ve already finished a “day’s work”)! I am doing the 3650 Challenge this year and I’ve been reading (or listening to) ten chapters of the Bible during my lunch break. I have prayer and devotional time at night before bed (when normally my brain is much more engaged than first thing in the morning). But how am I beginning my day?

Now that I am freelancing full-time and can get up at a more natural time for me, I’m not groggy and useless first thing in the morning.  So what thoughts should fill my mind? I have been filling it with others’ thoughts. Brogan suggests filling it with  my own. I’d rather fill it with God’s. So this morning I read today’s ten Bible chapters first.

I know this isn’t very mind-blowing (millions of people make quiet time their literal first priority), but this method is new for me. What about you? Whose thoughts should occupy your mind in the morning?

Perfect Harmony

Stream Lines by r-z
Image by r-z

Imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:12

The biblical heroes of faith call to us from the heights they have won, encouraging us that what man once did, man can do again. They remind us not only of the necessity of faith but also for the patience required for faith’s work to be perfected. May we fear attempting to remove ourselves from the hands of our heavenly Guide, or missing even one lesson of His living discipline due to our discouragement or doubt.

An old village blacksmith once said, “There is only one thing I fear: being thrown onto the scrap heap. You see, in order to strengthen a piece of steel, I must first temper it. I heat it, hammer it, and then quickly plunge it into a bucket of cold water. Very soon I know whether it will accept the tempering process or simply fall to pieces. If, after one or two tests, I see it will not allow itself to be tempered, I throw it onto the scrap heap, only to later sell it to the junkman for a few cents per pound.

“I realize the Lord tests me in the same way: through fire, water, and heavy blows of His hammer. If I am unwilling to withstand the test, or prove to be unfit for His tempering process, I am afraid He may throw me onto the scrap heap.”

When the fire in your life is the hottest, stand still, for “later on… it produces a harvest” (Heb. 12:11) of blessings. Then we will be able to say with Job, “When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). selected

Sainthood finds its source in suffering. Remember, it requires eleven tons of pressure on a piano’s strings for it to be tuned. And God will tune you to perfect harmony with heaven’s theme if you will withstand the strain.

Things that hurt and things that mar
Shape the man for perfect praise;
Shock and strain and ruin are
Friendlier than smiling days. 

Excerpt from Streams in the Desert {affiliate link} for March 4.

Prayer is Conflict – Elisabeth Elliot & Amy Carmichael

Prayer is the language by Lel4and
Image by Lel4and
Prayer is no easy pastime. As I grow old I find that I am more conscious than ever of my need to pray, but it seems at the same time to become more of a struggle. It is harder to concentrate, for one thing. I was greatly helped by some private notes Amy Carmichael wrote to her “Family” (hundreds of children and their helpers, both Indian and European) in Dohnavur, South India, to help them prepare for a special day of prayer.

She quoted Paul’s letter to the Colossians (2:1, KJV): “I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you.” He is referring at least in part to the conflict of prayer. The same verse is translated “how greatly I strive” in the Revised Version; “how deep is my anxiety” in J.B. Phillips; and, in the Jerusalem Bible, “Yes, I want you to know that I do have to struggle hard for you… to bind you together in love and to stir your minds, so that your understanding may come to full development, until you really know God’s secret in which all the jewels of wisdom and knowledge are hidden.”

Here are Amy’s notes:


1. With all that says to me, what is the use of your praying? So many others, who know more of prayer than you do, are praying. What difference does it make whether you pray or not? Are you sure that your Lord is listening? Of course He is listening to the other prayers but yours are of such small account, are you really sure He is “bending His ear” to you?

2. With all that suggests that we are asked to give too much time to prayer. There is so much to do. Why set aside so much time just to pray?

3. With all that discourages me personally–perhaps the remembrance of past sin, perhaps spiritual or physical tiredness; with anything and everything that keeps me back from what occupied St. Paul so often–vital prayer.


1. The certain knowledge that our insignificance does not matter at all, for we do not come to the Father in our own name but in the Name of His beloved Son. His ear is always open to that Name. Of this we can be certain.

2. The certain knowledge that this is Satan’s lie; he is much more afraid of our prayer than our work. (This is proved by the immense difficulties we always find when we set ourselves to pray. They are much greater than those we meet when we set ourselves to work.)

3. Isaiah 44:22 and kindred words, with 1 John 1:9, meet all distress about sin. Isaiah 40:29-31 with 2 Corinthians 12:9,10 meets everything that spiritual or physical weariness can do to hinder. Psalm 27:8 with Isaiah 45:19 meets all other difficulties. And the moment we say to our God, “Thy face, Lord, will I seek,” His mighty energies come to the rescue. (See Colossians 1:2,9.) Greater, far greater, is He that is in us than he that is against us. Count on the greatness of God. But are we to go on wrestling to the end?

No, there is a point to which we come, when, utterly trusting the promise of our Father, we rest our hearts upon Him. It is then we are given what St. Paul calls access with confidence (Ephesians 3:12). But don’t forget that this access is by faith, not by feeling, faith in Him our living Lord; He who says “Come unto Me” does not push us away when we come. As we go on, led by the Holy Spirit who so kindly helps our infirmities, we find ourselves in 1 John 5:14,15 and lastly in Philippians 4:6, . It is good to remember that immediate answer to prayer is not always something seen, but it is always inward peace.

And if the day ends otherwise and we are discouraged? Then tell Him so, “nothing ashamed of tears upon His feet” [here she is quoting from F.W.H. Meyers’s poem “St. Paul”]. Lord, Thou knowest all things. Thou knowest that I love Thee. “Yes, my child, I know.” But don’t settle down into an “it will never be different” attitude. It will be different if only in earnest we follow on to know the Lord.

He is Risen!

He is risen!

A metropolitan (bishop) of the Orthodox Church in Russia was faced with an atheist in the congregation who loudly declared, “Today nobody believes in the resurrection of Christ.” Instead of answering the claim, the metropolitan cried out, “Christ is risen!” and the hall, which was supposedly filled with atheists, responded with a roar, “Indeed He is risen!”

This is the proclamation of faith. It is often a waste of time and energy to argue with doubters–including ourselves. If we are assailed with unbelief, let us return to the bedrock of faith: the resurrection, for without this our faith is certainly vain. Let us shout (even alone with our private doubts) Christ is risen! It is a fact. Everything else is trivial by comparison.

-Elisabeth Elliot

Good Friday hymn

Go to dark Gethsemane, ye that feel the tempter’s power;
Your Redeemer’s conflict see, watch with Him one bitter hour,
Turn not from His griefs away; learn of Jesus Christ to pray.

See Him at the judgment hall, beaten, bound, reviled, arraigned;
O the wormwood and the gall! O the pangs His soul sustained!
Shun not suffering, shame, or loss; learn of Christ to bear the cross.

Calvary’s mournful mountain climb; there, adoring at His feet,
Mark that miracle of time, God’s own sacrifice complete.
“It is finished!” hear Him cry; learn of Jesus Christ to die.

Luther on the Cross

Cross on the hill, nr Kemsing, Kent by L2F1
Image by L2F1

It’s Holy Week, a time to prepare our hearts and contemplate the guts, grace and glory of Jesus’ finished work on the cross.

Let us meditate a moment on the passion of Christ….true contemplation is that in which the heart is crushed and the conscience smitten….You must be overwhelmed by the frightful wrath of God who so hated sin that he spared not his only begotten Son. What can the sinner expect if the beloved Son was so afflicted? It must be an inexpressible and unendurable yearning that causes God’s Son himself so to suffer. Ponder this and you will tremble, and the more you ponder, the deeper you will tremble.

The whole value of the meditation of the suffering of Christ lies in this, that man should come to the knowledge of himself and sink and tremble. If you are so hardened that you do not tremble, then you have reason to tremble. Pray to God that he may soften your heart and make fruitful your mediation upon the suffering of Christ, for we ourselves are incapable of proper reflection unless God instill it.

The greater and the more wonderful is the excellence of his love by contrast with the lowliness of his form, the hate and pain of passion. Herein we come to know both God and ourselves. His beauty is his own, and through it we learn to know him. His uncomeliness and passion are ours, and in them we know ourselves, for what he suffered in the flesh, we must suffer in the spirit. He has in truth borne our stripes. Here, then, in an unspeakably clear mirror you see yourself. You must know that through your sins you are as uncomely and mangled as you see him here.

We ought to suffer a thousand and again a thousand times more than Christ because he is God and we are dust and ashes, yet it is the reverse. He who had a thousand and again a thousand times less need, has taken upon himself a thousand and again a thousand times more than we.

No understanding can fathom nor tongue can express, no writing can record, but only the inward dealing can grasp what is involved in the suffering of Christ.

{Taken from the Desiring God blog}