Walking Our Faith: Where your treasure is, so is your heart
July 7, 2017
As I left for the airport on Wednesday, my phone suddenly lit up with messages from friends asking if I was OK, if I was in the way of the fire, if my dogs needed a place to stay. As the airport shuttle made its way through downtown Breckenridge I saw the towering plume of smoke and understood that my beloved town was in harm's way. My first reaction was fear and concern for those whose homes were in the path of the fire, and whether the small fire that was spreading so quickly would become a catastrophe. Then, my fear was replaced with confident assurance as I saw the firefighter's planes dousing the flames and read online that more firefighters were already working to contain the fire.
When I checked in again from the airport, I read that a change in wind had helped to keep the fire at bay while the firefighters continued their difficult work, my anxiety was replaced with joy. When I was a little girl there was a trick where we would challenge ourselves to tap our head with one hand while we rubbed our belly with the other. These disparate actions always led to a fit of giggles as we realized how difficult it was to do two different things simultaneously.
Doing disparate things is difficult physically but it's almost impossible emotionally or spiritually. Yet that is exactly what we are often called to in our walk with God: "faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)
It's one thing to read a Bible command, it's another thing entirely to live it. I read the final chapter in Kierkegaard's "The Lily of the Field and the Bird of the Air," and he states that in times of anxiety and trouble that our response should be joy. I am astonished.
Joy? Not patience or perseverance? Joy as we sit with our anxiety and uncertainty, the unknown of our future, how are we to feel joy in the midst of such miserable companions?
I admit when I read the word 'joy,' I experienced the childhood sensation of rubbing my belly as I tapped my head.
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Yet, that is exactly what we are called to do. According to Kierkegaard we are not only to feel joy, we are to live fully present in the moment, realizing as Christ said, "do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:34)
When we look at the example of the bird in the air, we realize that its freedom comes from not worrying about tomorrow. It is living by necessity fully in the moment of now.
"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"
Over the last three weeks we have learned three important lessons from this very brief parable of the bird and flowers of the field.
First, we discovered that we are meant to be silent in the face of our uncertainty so that we can better hear God's voice and direction for our life.
Second, we are told that after we are silent, we must become obedient. (I changed 'obedient' to 'trust' and 'surrender.') There's no use in becoming silent and waiting for the voice of God, if we're going to ignore it once we have heard his instructions. By trusting and surrendering to God's will we are expressing our faith that God knows what is best for us.
But joy? How do we hold onto joy in the midst of anxiety?
Kierkegaard tells us "there is today and there is no worry, absolutely none about tomorrow or the day after tomorrow this is not a foolishness on the part of the lily and bird but it is the joy of silence and obedience … tomorrow does not exist then in the silence and obedience of today …. to be joyful is truly to be present to oneself but truly to be present to oneself today."
All we have is this present moment. But that is enough. By faith we know that God is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, and for God every moment is eternal. If we rest in God's sovereignty then we can be joyful in the moment because we understand that this moment is God's.
In the Bible, we are instructed to "cast our worry on God." Ultimately, this is the only way we will be able to live fully in the moment, to experience joy today when our tomorrow feels impossible. When we fully surrender our lives, and every outcome to God, we also give God the burden of our fear. Which leaves us room in our heart and mind, to experience joy in the present moment.
Our gratitude and joy goes to every person involved in fighting the fire in Breckenridge. There are so many involved on the front lines and behind the scenes. Each a vital part of the fight. Thank you for your brave and tireless service. "…where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21) You are our treasure.
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