We’re often encouraged to ‘feed’ on God’s Word, aren’t we? I’ve certainly always regarded the Bible as a source of comfort, encouragement and guidance in a general way. I have to admit, though, that it wasn’t until recently that I truly understood just how directly a specific verse can ‘feed’ us, even if we don’t even realise that we’re ‘hungry’!
It was a Friday evening, the end of a long week. Bible Study group was in my diary, but (to my shame) I didn’t feel much like going. I was exhausted, physically and emotionally. I’d done a lot of travelling, I’d had a lot of things to deal with and I was deeply worried about family issues. I really felt that I had no energy left to give. I only decided to go at the last minute because I didn’t want to let down the other members of the group.
One of the passages we read was from Luke’s Gospel. My mind still too full to concentrate properly, my eyes wandered away from that passage to an earlier one. Here just one verse jumped out at me:
‘Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day [when heaven and earth will pass away] will close on you suddenly like a trap’ (Luke 21:34, NIV).
I smiled at first. Carousing? Drunkenness? Not exactly a feature of my life! So why had this verse so suddenly halted the whirring of my exhausted yet still restless mind? Then I realised: it was the bit about ‘the anxieties of life’. If ever there was anybody who fell into that category, it was me that evening!
My heart started racing. I’d been doing exactly what Jesus warns against here. I’d been letting all my worries blind me to the bigger picture, to the need to be always preparing and watching for the coming of God’s kingdom. I’d allowed the ‘anxieties of life’ to leave me starved of what really mattered.
I don’t think that I’ll give up worrying completely! We all have different talents to bring to God’s service, and perhaps mine is ‘worrying’. It’s right that we care for people today, that we do our best to bring honour to God today, even if these things also make us worry. However, after this experience of being ‘fed’ from God’s Word, I’ll certainly be praying that I’ll be better able to see the bigger (eternal) picture.
There’s a postscript as well. Just the next day I visited my very elderly father, for whom life is not at all easy. He said, quite unexpectedly and without knowing about what had happened to me, ‘I’m determined not to let anything matter except love.’ I think that was God ‘feeding’ me as well, showing me that it’s love that should ‘weigh down’ our hearts. I was reminded that the two greatest commandments are to love God and to love others. It’s into loving, not worrying, that we should direct our energy.