“Worry increases or decreases proportionate to your trust in God.”
Up until a few days ago I would have said this statement is true. Now, I’m not so sure.
It is definitely true that I worry about a lot of things I shouldn’t worry about.
It is definitely true that when I open my hands, surrender control, and trust in the power and might of a God who has only good things for me I tend to breath easier and worry less.
It is definitely true that God will work all things for good.
I believe in a sovereign God and when I trust in God’s sovereignty then I find my worry does usually lessen, but not always.
And here’s why… I also believe in free will.
Because I hold both of these beliefs and try to live in the tension between them I can deeply trust God and rest in his goodness and I can still worry.
You see I can trust God and still not trust myself. I can believe that eventually in his sovereignty God will work all things for good, but since I also believe that I have free will (and so do those around me) I believe that my choices have consequences. Very real consequences. And that is where worry comes in.
People say, “Don’t worry. God’s in control. He will take care of you.” And I can read Jesus own words, “Do not let your hearts be troubles and so not be afraid. Trust in God, trust also in me.” And I can believe that. I can trust deeply. I can give over my troubles, but there is one thing that still causes me to worry and that is this: What if I make a mistake?
I trust that God will work good from my husbands cancer, but I believe that we have free will and consequences. I worry that we won’t choose the best treatment. I worry that we will make a decision which will end up influencing Bryan’s outcome. I can trust completely in God’s goodness, his love, his provision and plan and still hold this worry in my heart.
The same is true of my daughters situation. On Sunday the pastor at our church was talking a little about hope and worry and I kept thinking “In God I have a great hope. He is an entirely trustworthy God and I do trust him completely. So why am I still so worried about my daughter? About the struggles we’ve been having with her G tube and her weight and about her condition?” And then it struck me. I worry because I believe that I can influence the situation (positively or negatively) and I worry that I will influence it negatively – that I’m not doing the right thing for her.
My worry isn’t proportionate to my trust. It’s proportionate to my view and understanding of sovereignty. It’s proportionate to my trust in sovereignty. The stronger my view of sovereignty the easier it is to hand over my worry – I have less influence, God is ultimately in completely control so why worry?
In contrast the stronger my view of free will the easier it becomes to worry. Or at least suddenly there is legitimately something to worry about. If I have more influence then my choices mean something (which is a really good and motivating thing) but then that also means that I can choose something that hurts me or someone I care about either intentionally or unintentionally.
Thankfully, the beautiful truth of the story of God is a paradigm. We live in the tension between. We live in the AND.
I don’t think I am wrong to worry about the consequences of my actions, to take my choices seriously, to believe that I can influence the world (for good or for evil). But I must remember in my worry, to open my hands to the control of a sovereign God, to breath deeply and trust that no matter what choice I make it will be worked for good.
Rejoicing in the journey,