“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing…Your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.” (Luke 12:22, 31)
When I read these verses part of me wonders if God is holding up his end of the deal.
I can’t help but think about the millions who lack even the most basic necessities. God tells us not to worry about the little things, but what about the millions who don’t have a single pair of shoes? What about the millions who don’t have a single bowl of rice to place on the table in front of their children? What about the millions who cannot get a single vaccination to ward off a preventable disease? What about them, God? Why aren’t they getting everything they need?
And what about Jackline? I ask God.
Jackline is the young woman we sponsor in Tanzania. Her picture hangs on our refrigerator, her smile radiant against a backdrop of vivid pink flowers. Last year she graduated from high school, and when we heard she’d aced her national examinations and been admitted to the university, I grinned with pride and joy.
It sounds a little silly, I know, but Jackline feels a little bit like our own daughter, even though we’ve never even met her face-to-face. We pray for her. We cheer for her. We celebrate with her. And we mourn with her.
Jackline missed her very first week of college classes last month. Her younger brother died, she told us in a brief email. She’d gone home for the funeral.
What about Jackline? I ask God.
If God promises he will give us everything we need, that we need not worry about anything, big or small, why does Jackline mourn the loss of her brother on her first day of college? Why, when she already has so little, does she still have to suffer so much?
Of course I don’t have the answers to those questions. But when I force myself to look hard at the truth, I do know this:
The burden to provide isn’t all on God. I’m in the mix, too — right there in the middle. And it’s my job, my personal responsibility, to stand in the gap, even if that standing in seems small and irrelevant and not ever nearly enough.
I sat at my computer for a long time as I struggled to compose a reply to Jackline. When I finally put my fingers to the keyboard, my email wasn’t very long or eloquent. But as I typed I prayed my simple sentences would convey love, comfort and compassion to the daughter I’ve never met. I prayed my small words would cross oceans and mountains and thousands of miles and embed themselves in Jackline’s heart.
I prayed that God would take my inadequate words and somehow use them to fill Jackline’s need, to somehow make them enough.
Questions for Reflection:
What’s your reaction to these verses about worry in Luke? Do you ever wonder how this Scripture applies to the world’s poorest and most needy? Do you believe you have a responsibility as a provider? And if you answer yes, what’s one small way you can fulfill that responsibility?
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