From Worry to Wisdom
“Do not be anxious about anything” (Philippians 6:6).
This may be one of the most difficult commands in Scripture to follow. Each of us has different concerns. Some of the things we tend to worry about (and shouldn’t) take on different dimensions as we grow older.
But the concerns below likely remain on a list you and I pray for—and have anxiety about—as we grow older.
- Ministry impact
- Kids and grandkids
- Being alone
The challenge the Lord provides, especially at this time of our lives, is not to ignore these things and somehow act as if they are unimportant. We must face them, but not allow them to overpower the promises and provision the Lord freely gives us in Christ. To find ourselves consistently worrying or feeling overwhelmed (Satan’s intent) is not the Lord’s desire or plan for His disciples.
As some of our concerns become magnified, our later years can actually become a time of life when the Lord responds to us in very special ways. It is in these challenging situations that we often mature the most.
We grow and learn most when we recognize our deepest need for God and call upon Him in faith. The Lord does not want us to focus on endless worries, but on our need for Him and His intervention in our lives. As we face the challenges of later life, we can look for how He intervenes and makes Himself known to us.
In The Spiritual Life, Henri Nouwen reminds us that during these new times of life, God moves us
“ . . . from the many things [to worry about] to the kingdom of God. . . . We are set free from the compulsions of our world and have set our hearts on the only necessary thing. . . . We no longer experience the many things, people, and events as endless causes for worry, but begin to experience them as the rich variety of ways in which God makes His presence known to us” [emphasis added].
As the Lord’s disciples we are not to worry, we are to allow Him to keep leading us into this new way of life . . . of trusting and calling Him into the deepest needs of our lives. Remember, whatever the Lord is doing or allowing is always about this new life, this eternal life that He is continuing to impart to us.
This transformational process is faithfully moving us from “one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18, ESV). We will never be like we were. We are always being made new if we are surrendered to Him. Praise the Lord.
We all need to grow in faith, wisdom, and love. And we cannot do this when we aren’t being stretched by situations that require these qualities in greater depth. The Lord is always revealing more fully who He is and developing us in the midst of our real need for Him. Our bodies are always becoming older, but our life is always becoming newer.