In Matthew 6:26 Jesus says “look” and in verse 28 “see”. Worry is a form of blindness. It always makes me think of Earthworm in Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach. He’s a perennial worrier. When James and his supersized insect friends suddenly find themselves drifting in the middle of an ocean with no land in site, inside a giant peach, Earthworm cries, “We’re finished! Every one of us is about to perish! … we’re not likely to find any food around here… We shall get thinner and thinner and thirstier and thirstier, and we shall all die a slow and grisly death from starvation. I am dying already. I am slowly shriveling up for want of food…” That’s the voice of worry.
“But good heavens,” says James “you must be blind!”
“You know very well I’m blind,” the Earthworm snaps. “There’s no need to rub it in.”
“I didn’t mean that,” James says quickly. “I’m sorry. But can’t you see that –”
“See?” shouted the poor Earthworm. “How can I see if I am blind?”
James takes a deep, slow breath. “Can’t you realize,” he said patiently, that “our whole ship is made of food!”
Everyone except Earthworm, rejoiced at this admittedly obvious discovery. Earthworm says “You must be crazy! You can’t eat the ship! It’s the only thing that is keeping us up!”
“But you can eat all you want,” James answered. “It would take us weeks and weeks to make any sort of a dent in this enormous peach. Surely you can see that?”
“Good heavens, he’s right!” the others cried, beginning to eat.
But Earthworm looked worried. “What’s the problem?” Centipede asked. “The problem is. . .” the Earthworm said,
“the problem is. . . well, the problem is that there is no problem!”
Earthworm feared starvation, yet was surrounded by a giant peach. He was blind, in more ways than one.
When we’re anxious we lose sight of God because what we want and worry about are the only things we see. We spend too much time in the future, (worry’s favourite time zone), playing “what if” games, and not enough attention on God’s grace in the past and the present: the peach beneath our feet.
This blindness leads to a distorted view of God. We think He’s too busy to care about the details of our lives. We think we’re not valuable to Him. That we are alone and no one is looking out for us. Jesus seeks to silence these lies and restore our sight.
God feeds the birds, He says. They don’t sow or reap or store. They receive by grace. God clothes the flowers; they do not labour or spin, they receive by grace.
If this is how God cares for His creation, Jesus argues, how much more important to God then are you – His image bearers?
In verse 26, we move from God caring providentially for His creation, to “your heavenly Father”. God is not their Father, He is our Father (if we’ve put our faith in Jesus). It would be inconceivable for a father to feed the family goldfish whilst allowing his own children to starve. Now, if this is true of an earthly father, how much more so, our Heavenly Father (see Luke 11:11-13). If you’ve trusted in Jesus, God is not merely a Creator to you. He is that, but He’s more than that. He’s your Father. And if He takes care of the birds, how much greater will His care be for you,
His precious child.
Now, because many out there have had disappointing dad, this can be difficult to get hold of. So, think of the best earthly father you can imagine and supersize that by infinity. Not sure where to start then read and watch the story of Dick and Rick Hoyt, and have some tissues to hand. I tell you, God loves you even more!
But hold on a minute you might be thinking. Birds also die. Yes, they do, Jesus knows that, he says in verse 34 “Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Jesus knows we live in a world that isn’t safe – we can be free from worry but not suffering. But thankfully suffering exists within God’s loving sovereignty. Romans 8:28 says “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Jesus brutal crucifixion was on the horizon when he said these words. God tastes the full fury of suffering first hand, nails through hands and feet, so he can emphetically stand with you in your suffering. Moreover, God can turn the very worst thing that ever happened in human history – the suffering and death of Christ on the cross – into the best thing that has every happened in the history of the world – salvation from sin – then with time and perspective we can trust Him to work suffering for good in our lives.
God is a good, good Father to those who confess their sin and trust in him. Letting the Holy Spirit put that ‘Daddy’ cry deep in your heart, is the key to peace (Romans 8:15-17). Take some time to think and pray about that today.