I was walking to my dorm room at night on my way back from a meeting during my junior year of college. It was January 2014, and it was cold. It was about 9:45 p.m. There weren’t very many people outside. I was walking alone, left to myself and my thoughts. That can sometimes be a dangerous place.
On this particular night, I was coming back from a team meeting. I was a member of a ministry team that was going to Kenya in the spring. We met every week to go over details, talk about the book we were reading and receive updates on our fundraising.
Each team member was tasked with raising their own funds. I had been a little late in sending my letters out, so my numbers were pretty low. We were about to hit our first deadline, and I was well short.
On top of that, I had a big school bill coming up. During my freshman and sophomore years, my parents had largely helped pay for my schooling. We had agreed that I would take on more responsibility for payments starting my junior year. Thankfully, I had saved up some money from my campus jobs during my first two years of college. But now, those savings had nearly been used up.
I could use the last of my savings to pay the school bill. But that would leave next to nothing for my trip fundraising. If I covered the first deadline for my trip fundraising, I wouldn’t be able to pay my school bill.
I started to worry. A lot.
Thankfully, I had a mentor who encouraged me to pray about it. He was also the leader of our ministry team, and he reiterated to me the faithfulness of God.
Later that week, I received two major checks in the mail for my ministry team fundraising. With the money I had in savings, I was able to pay the school bill AND meet my fundraising deadline. It wasn’t a coincidence. It wasn’t luck.
It was God.
So what about you? Do you ever worry? Have you ever felt anxiety about something? Of course you have. We all do! Look back at our passage for today. Jesus never says that troubles won’t come our way or that our lives would be perfect. In fact, Jesus doesn’t really talk about circumstances all that much, if you really focus on His words.
Our circumstance are what they are. We can’t always control them. In fact, most of the time we can’t. What we can control is our reactions to those circumstances. That’s where Jesus chooses to focus.
I encourage you, read through Matthew 6:25-34 once again. This time, look for all the examples of Jesus discussing our reactions to circumstances. Then, go and read Philippians 4:6. Are your reactions matching up with what Jesus is describing?
If not, here’s a simple tool to remember. Every time you feel compelled to worry, pray instead. It will take some practice, but start off by trying it for just one hour. Then try it for an afternoon. Then a day. Then a week, and so on. Sure, you’ll mess up. But the more and more you can live a life of prayer instead of a life of worry, the closer you’ll come to God’s presence.
Come to think of it, I think I’ll go pray right now.