What, Me Worry?

by Ted Kyle

There is faith, and then there is faith. We know there is "little faith" (Matt. 8:26, 14:31, etc.), which we could also call "untapped faith," or "faith on the shelf." This is head-knowledge faith; accepted because the Bible tells us so.

This is the quality of faith which the father of the demon-possessed child had when he said to our Savior: "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief"(Mark 9:24). He had head-belief, but he pleaded for heart-belief, or experiential belief.

And this, I fear, is where millions of us are right now. We believe that God is omnipotent. We know that He can do anything.

But when it cuts down into the quick, where life can really hurt, we're afraid to truly cast ourselves into God's protective hands. It's hard! It requires a leap of faith, whether great or small, to let go of trusting our own abilities, our own plans, our own control.

At such moments we're like the old farmer I heard about, whose more modern son talked him into going up in a airplane for the very first time. "You'll be able to see your farm from the air," the son said. "You'll be amazed and delighted."

So the farmer gingerly allowed himself to be tucked into the open front cockpit [this was a few years ago, you'll recognize], and then strapped in securely with the safety belt. Into the air they went, and the pilot made several passes to make sure the farmer had a good view of his land.

After they landed, the son rushed up to his father and asked how he liked his first flight. "Well," the old man replied, "it was all right, and I'm glad I was able to see my farm from up there. But"-and at this point he held out his hands, still bent claw-like from the death-grip he had maintained on the seat supports throughout the flight-"I just never could let down!" He was in the plane, and the plane held him up, but he couldn't quite relax and enjoy the ride.

Doesn't that describe us, sometimes? We can find it very difficult to have the simple, trusting faith of a little child, secure in Mama's or Papa's arms-yet that is precisely the type of faith Jesus said we absolutely must have: "Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little childshall in no wise enter therein" (Luke 18:17).

"Whoa! That's asking too much! God doesn't know what I'm going through, or what I'm facing." But, of course, He does.

And, knowing our frailties, our heavenly Father brings us along by stages. One of the most basic is the one Jesus taught in Matthew 6:31-34: "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

The text does not mean we should take no thought at all about our needs: the Greek word for "thought" is merimno, meaning "anxious thought." We are not to worry or be fearful about how our needs will be met. We are simply to tell our Father about them (pray), do what is in our power to do, and then simply trust Him for what we can't do.

Each and every Christian is in God's school of faith. There is no failing grade, if we are truly His children-no "Fs," but lots of repeated lessons, until we pass-and each "pass" brings us to the next level of testing.

The ultimate goal, remember, is total trust, in any situation. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil."

Ted Kyle is managing editor of Pulpit Helps.

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
Disciple Banner Ad