The challenge of your Christian life is believing what you don’t see. The Bible calls this faith.
There is so much that is seen. You see your need for food and clothing. You see injustice and wrongness in the world. You see how things are, how the world works.
Our world is filled with practical, visible concerns. Like what the medical profession calls “ADLs.” Those are “activities of daily living.” Everyone has tasks to accomplish every day, like getting dressed, eating breakfast, taking a shower, and (hopefully) brushing your teeth. Those activities need to get done, they are a visible part of life.
And those basic activities don’t really even touch all the other parts of life. Having enough money. Taking care of kids. Holding on to a job. Making a few friends. Add in looking ahead to ensure these things in the future, and you have the basis for planning and hoarding. They are based largely in worry.
So what is seen leads to worry. That worry drives behaviors which don’t really settle the anxiety, because plans go awry and riches melt away. And who can plan for illness, or have enough money to cheat death?
James says that the answer to our worry for ourselves isn’t planning and saving. The answer is found in faith. What we need isn’t more attention to building a nest for ourselves. What we need is to believe that our home is not here.
Our hope is not bound up in the success of a life well lived on earth. Our hope is in the coming of the Lord.
“Be patient,” James 5:8 says. “Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” That’s the answer to anxiety. Jesus is coming, and he is coming for you and me. Above all we seek to be with Jesus. We seek a heavenly homeland, where he is. And the calming truth is that he has promised it to us, by his strength and in his timing. He is alive. He is coming again. None of us has seen any of this, we simply trust in Jesus. Thus our lives at our core are not about achieving on earth. Our lives are about waiting for Jesus.
My anxiety is helped when I meditate on the love Jesus has for me and his amazing promises. I think on stories of God’s deliverance—always by his strength, his power, his time, his way. He freed his people from Egypt in mighty miracles, he parted the Red Sea, he provided manna to eat, he gave water to drink, he made a way to dwell among his people, he went before them directing and guiding. And that’s only Exodus!
Activities of daily living remain before you. But don’t worry if you can’t accomplish them. And don’t rejoice if you accomplish them better than other people. If your heart is set on Jesus, take comfort that this is not your home, and that your faith is to wait for the coming of the Lord. He is coming soon!