Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, 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, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
I recently listened to a lecture by Jedi Master Dallas Willard in which he said something that still has my mind spinning. He said that, for the Christian, “the universe is a perfectly safe place.” I had never really thought about it that way. I had always thought of the universe – the present, physical universe – as a place where decay and death ultimately get the last say. If we’re lucky, we might live for 100 years before the End catches us, but – make no mistake – it will catch us. And, even at that, we will spend much of our time looking over our shoulder, alert to the prospect of war, famine, cancer, heart disease, etc.
Willard, however, envisions a larger universe – one that goes beyond the immediate, physical one. He points to the ultimate reality of a God who cares about the fate of sparrows, ravens, lilies, and even grass. He reminds me that people are of even more import to God than the creation in which we live and that God is ultimately about the work of re-claiming us, along with everything else that is subject to the present laws of decay and darkness.
If peace is only possible when fear is banished, then true peace can only be grounded in unwavering faith. Trust God. Trust that he is good. Trust that he will care for us, even in the face of the relentless decay of the present would, and we can live in peace.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty, Paul once wrote to the church in Phillipi, I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Up next: The practice of peace