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Faith In Life's Difficult Places By H. W. Smith "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God; and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6,7). "Be careful (anxious) for nothing." This is not meant to teach carelessness, but care without anxiety. "For nothing". This covers all possible grounds for anxiety, both inward and outward. We are continually tempted to think it is our duty to be anxious about some things. Perhaps our thought is, "Oh, yes it is quite right to give up all anxiety in a general way, and in spiritual matters anxiety is wrong, but there are things about which it would be a sin not to be anxious--about our children, or those we love, or about our church affairs and the cause of truth, or about our business matters. It would show a great lack of right feeling not to be anxious about such things as these. These we ought to be anxious about, for if we are not, they will be neglected." To such suggestions and to all similar ones, the answer is found in our text: "In nothing be anxious." Our Lord develops this and shows us the reason why we are not to be anxious, in His sermon on the mount (Matthew 6:25-34). The illustrations used here are such as we can not misunderstand. The birds and the flowers are before us continually as living examples of what real trust is. With them it is unconscious trust, but with us it must be an intelligent and conscious act. We all know the relief it is to lay off a care or a burden upon an earthly friend whom we trust. Just like this, only infinitely greater, is the relief that comes to the soul that has "cast all its care" upon the Lord. "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee; He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved" (Psa. 55:22). He upon whom our cares are to be cast, is able to bear them, no matter how great they may be. Yet, we who trust our choicest things often to our fellow men and feel no fear, are afraid to trust our Lord. Think of the blessed confidence with which children cast their cares upon their parents, without a fear. Recall how the parents love to have it so. How often a mother, when her child is tempted to be anxious or worried over carrying out of a plan, will say, "Do not worry; leave it all to me and I will attend to it. Only trust me, and do as I say, and all will come out right." The only thing a mother asks of her child is that he or she will yield to her care and obey her voice, and then she will take charge of all the rest. Just so it is with us and our God. Must Be Obedience No mother can make all things go right for a disobedient child, and neither can God (Psa. 81:11,12). If we will carry our own cares, and manage things in our own way, and walk "in our own counsels," sorrow and suffering can not fail to be the result (Prov. 3:5,6). We must give everything to Jesus and trust Him and wait. Our worry is a waste if He takes our care. "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me....Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto You. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:1,27). Here the Master commands us not to be troubled or afraid. Every time we yield to anxiety or fear we are disobeying Him. There are three instances recorded where our Lord rebuked the little faith of His disciples, and yet in each case the circumstances were such as to make anxiety seem the natural and proper thing. They were certainly such as would cause great anxiety in many Christian hearts now. First, it was in a storm at sea (Matt. 8:24-25). Their fear led them to cry to Him, and yet He rebukes them for their fear. They ought to have known that with Him aboard, they could not be other than safe, and they ought to have rested in quiet confidence through the storm. The second instance was when Peter found himself sinking in the waters (Matt. 14:29-31). The third was when the disciples were troubled because they had no bread (Matt. 16:8-10). In the latter, Jesus referred them to past experiences when He had supplied all their need as a reason why they should trust Him now. He was grieved at the doubts of His disciples, just as we are grieved when those whom we love and whom we are trying to serve, are anxious and fearful about the things we have undertaken to do for them. Three instances from the Old Testament illustrate this lesson also. The first is the story of Hagar when she was sent out from her home into the wilderness, apparently to die (Gen. 21:14-19). The second was when Elijah went, during the time of famine, to the house of the widow (1 Kings 17:12-16). The third was when the army of Syria encompassed the city where dwelt the man of God. (2 Kings 6:15-17). The causes for anxiety in each of these cases were very great, but God was in each instance behind the scene with His perfect supply, and those who were afraid only needed to have their "eyes opened" to see it, and be delivered from all their fears. What Is Our Part? "Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass" (Psa. 37:3-7). Seven things are mentioned here. Trust in the Lord; do good; delight thyself in Him; commit thy way unto Him; rest in Him; wait patiently for Him; and finally, fret not thyself. Our part then is to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. That is, we must make it the first object of our lives to accept His will and to do it under all circumstances, and then trust Him for all the rest. No one can in the very nature of things, be "careful for nothing," who is not fully surrendered to the Lord. Unless we are satisfied with His will, we can not trust Him to manage for us. There is no way but the way of full surrender and simple childlike obedience. The Lord knows what is best. We do not. Therefore we must leave the arrangements all to Him and must say, "Thy will be done," about everything. The Sin Of Doubting Remember that all questioning is of the nature of doubt. It is called in the Bible, "speaking against God." "Yes, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Behold, He smote the rock, that the water gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can He give bread also? can He provide flesh for His people? Therefore the Lord heard this, and was wroth: so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel; because they believed not in God, and trusted not in His salvation, though He had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, and had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven" (Psa. 78:19-24). Their sorrows came upon them because they did not trust. God was equal to the emergency, but they did not believe it, and their doubt grieved Him more than all their other sins. "And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us or not? (Exodus 17:7). Here their questioning is called "tempting the Lord." How common is this sort of questioning among Christians, who little dream what a sin it is! Listen to our Lord's own words: "Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings? and not one of them is forgotten before God; but even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows" (Luke 12:6,7). In the face of such an assurance, who could doubt? The sparrows and the hairs of our head, two strikingly insignificant and valueless things! Yet they are noticed and cared for. Then surely He will care for me!

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