And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:38-39 NLT
Paul continued to write about the things that convinced him could never separate him from God’s love. He considered life and death, angels and demons, and now writes about fears and worries. Paul was a man who had first hand experience of life’s troubles, but he never seemed to stop and think. He was a driven man, desperate to share the Gospel regardless of his personal safety and comfort. Regardless of what he thought, though, he accepted that fears and worries were an issue.
Have we woken up this morning, stomachs churning with fear because of what we are facing into in the day ahead? Perhaps the boss at work wants to see us about an issue that could result in our dismissal. Or perhaps the bailiffs are due, to collect an unpaid debt. The doctors in hospital want to talk to you about a sick relative. Further afield, some live in constant fear of the authorities, waiting for that knock on the door. Perhaps we have received a threatening or bullying message on social media. There are countless issues that could be causing “fears for today”.
Paul continued to write about “our worries for tomorrow”. That too can be debilitating. People worry about things like, “Will I have enough money to pay the utility bill that’s due next week?” College students worry about the looming exams. The list of potential worries coming down the tracks of life can be seemingly endless.
Fears and worries can be debilitating, and they snatch away any thoughts of God and His love and provision, impacting our joy in the process. But in the context of eternity, our anxieties are irrational. However, just saying that is ok when we don’t have anything to worry about. It’s a different issue when we fear for our physical comfort and safety. When we have problems with finding the resources to buy the food we and our families need, or heat our homes. Having “fears for today” and “worries about tomorrow” manifest themselves in many ways. Sadly, I know people who are unrepentant worriers. Even when they have nothing to worry about, they pause and start worrying that there is something to worry about that they don’t know about yet.
How do we pilgrims join Paul in his state of being “totally convinced”? Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11-13, “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength”. Paul’s relationship with God superseded anything life was going to throw at him. His calling was solid and indisputable.
God promises us that He would supply all our needs. We read in Philippians 4:19, “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus“. If we are honest with ourselves, we will find that many of our worries come, not from our needs, but from our wants. So we fill our homes with gadgets and other “stuff” and then start worrying about our possessions. To mitigate the worries of ownership, we take our expensive insurance policies. Paul learned to live a life of faith in God, trusting in Him to supply all his needs.
We can’t leave the subject of “fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow” without referring to Philippians 4:6-7, verses that are much quoted, and which read, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus“. Somehow, when we are on our knees in God’s presence, “the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace“.
Dear Lord. You care for us, and we respond to You with grateful hearts. We worship You today. Amen.