Worrying and God's Providence

Worrying and God's Providence

by: Kyra Riley

A chipmunk visits my backyard most mornings. When I am working at my desk, I usually catch it in the corner of my eye. I turn my head toward the window and peek through the screen. I see the chipmunk's striped fur and short tail bounce from rock to rock. I see it rummage through the dried leaves and fallen sticks. The chipmunk even takes a bold leap and lands onto my backdoor steps. Because of its instincts, the chipmunk does not demonstrate worry as it enters human territory. It is not anxious about whether or not it will find some tree berry or insect to nibble. The chipmunk comes seemingly cautious but confident that it will be safe and provided for.

As I consider the morning activity of my neighborhood chipmunk, I am reminded of the Lord's providence. Providence is God's divine guidance and care over creation. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He formed the creatures of the sea and those of the land. And He stood with authority over them. Psalm 103:19 states, "The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all." God is not apathetic in His rulership. Though sitting at His divine throne, by His Spirit, He is also near and pays attention to every detail.

God not only presides over creation, but He also upholds it. Psalm 145:15–16 says, "All eyes look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing." He set up the laws of nature by which the sea, land, and all of creation are ruled. But His Spirit is the source that causes the earth to rotate, rain to fall, vegetation to grow, and a suitable ecosystem to emerge for the chipmunk.

God's providence is most magnified in His saving grace shown through Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:15–17 tells us, " is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities –all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and by him all things hold together." The biblical author wrote that Christ is not only the Creator of life but also the Sustainer of life.

We were sinners considered dead in our sin and did not want to operate in the way God intended. Our moral inability corrupted our design and alienated us from the Father. We were in deep need of spiritual revitalization and sustenance. So, as the Ruler who cared for His people, Jesus worked to restore us. Jesus Christ proved His rulership in His resurrection. Because He lived a perfect life, Jesus overcame death, sin, and evil. With all divine authority, Jesus presides over us as King and Lord at the right hand of the Father. But by His indwelling Holy Spirit, He is also with us, maintaining within our hearts the power of His salvation. Christ continues to preserve us in faith from the world's corruption and keeps us satisfied in Him.

This truth of God's providence helps us when we struggle with worry. Because of our fallen world, it is reasonable to worry about where the next paycheck will come from or how to get food on the table. God sees the brokenness and understands our pain. But through the physical needs, God wants us to dwell on His ultimate provision in Jesus Christ, who carries us. Knowing that our sins are forgiven, and our access to eternal life is kept in Jesus brings encouragement and joy in the midst of present hardship. We can meditate on the Word of God when He said, "Therefore I tell you: Don't worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn't life more than food and the body more than clothing? Consider the birds of the sky: They don't sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you worth more than they?" (Matthew 6:25–26).

Furthermore, the Lord wants us to have hope in knowing that one day He will return and usher in a new creation where there will be no physical need. The full presence of God will eliminate the systems that cause us to worry now. Like the chipmunk, who, through instinct, trusts in God's sustaining hand to provide food, in faith, we can trust in God to provide nourishment for our souls.

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