“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
- Matthew 6:25-34
I have been snooping.
Okay, I have been cleaning up and boxing up stuff that had been in my wife’s domain for the past twenty-five years. I have maybe a half dozen bags of clothing left before I am ready to call the veterans to come make another pick up. They picked up 23 bags the first time. This one may be half that much.
But in cleaning up, I found two books that my wife probably bought for me five years ago. Then in forgetting she had them, they sat in a box instead of getting wrapped and placed under the Christmas tree or given for my birthday. But then I went through her bookshelf and I found a study guide, a First Place 4health Bible Study Guide, begin with Christ. She took this Bible study in 2009.
I had recently read a study guide for a different Bible study that she must have taken in the late 1980s. She only filled out the first two or three lessons. Her answers were biblical, in that she copied Scripture in her answers. She rarely said something that was personal. She did not personalize what she was reading.
Some people might complain that I am reading from my wife’s diary, but since she had only fully committed her life to Christ nine years before, this is a wonderful view into growing in faith. If people say that I am snooping into private things, this may be the last of these.
What warmed my heart is that with the first book, from the 1980s, she quit early in the Bible study. With this second study guide, she answered all the questions to the end, but there were no notes of having meetings and “prayer requests” (which I will not even read myself) after the seventh week of the eleven week study. She stuck it out when others fell short. She was devouring everything that God was laying on the table. Devouring being an important word in that the course goal was to eat healthier, changing a lifestyle in a biblical way. From her discussion over the dinner table, as the plan was not helping our efforts in eating healthier, she was digging into this study for personal Christian growth.
And it showed.
She did not fully accept Jesus, that difference in head knowledge and heart knowledge, until the year 2000. This might be her reason for digging into God’s word, with a few friends to keep her honest and on schedule.
With this Bible study, she started it with a good-sized group and as I remembered her complaining, it got down to only four people, and not all the people were willing to share in group discussion.
In reading her comments, especially after reading what little she had written in the 80s, I got to see firsthand, and with her beautiful handwriting, how my wife had grown, and even then she shared her personal worries. After all, she was still dealing with PTSD, as of 2009 still undiagnosed.
“Don’t worry about your life and what you will eat or drink or wear.”
- My wife’s answer to the scripture above
“I know I need to trust in You but I still feel inadequate about letting You be my guide and master. Please forgive me.”
- My wife, as she digs deeper
The first comment was pretty much a combination of the Scripture above and the question that had been asked, just repeating it back. But then, as she saw how her life stacked up to the ideal, she realized that she was still a work in progress.
I don’t know about you, but in reading this, I see some of the things that my wife and I discussed, but some things that she did not confess to me. In many ways, she did not have to. She was a lifelong worrier. A couple of questions later she responds:
“I’m trying to find comfort in Jesus’ words of reassurance. If I don’t think about something, I don’t worry about it. But if I’m reminded of it – that might be another answer.”
- My wife’s inner thoughts
A little while later, she wrote “daily” bread, and then went back to underline “daily” twice.
“I need Him so much and it’s important to keep everything in balance and that all my daily needs are met through prayer.”
- My wife, her final comment on the Scripture above
When I entitled this post adding “with a little help,” I was thinking of my wife, her help in writing this. I could have written the same thought, just from my own walk in faith.
Five years after she was in this small group Bible study, I lost my job. I was too old to find another job. I know, that is age discrimination, but … prove it. It was eight years after this Bible study that I started this blog. God had talked to me and told me to press forward and have faith. My wife had still not conquered her fears and worries, but each month, I told her how much we had in the bank account, and often we had more than we did the month before. There were no additions in income, at least most of the time. It was simply doing as she said in one of her quotes above, “it’s important to keep everything in balance.”
Did she still think about little sources of income? Sure, but she was being tested. Can you truly rely on God for your daily bread? Go back and underline “daily” a couple of times. Living by faith daily is not something for the faint at heart.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.
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