I was very young and it had taken a leap of faith and all my savings to buy it, but I did. It came packaged in a big shiny white box and an enticing rainbow apple with a chunk bitten out, and when I brought it home that morning, I was met with disbelief and scorn.
You see, I had bought one of the first Apple portable computers to have come on the market – an Apple IIc. And everyone at home knew I had never operated anything more complicated than a stereo system. But disregarding their open skepticism at my ability to operate this particular piece of technology, I carefully set the computer up and proceeded to read every word of the operating manual. Everything was going swimmingly until I tried to save my first trial document on to the floppy disk.
It didn’t work. Not the first try. Or the second. Or the countless tries afterwards. Twelve hours later I was no closer to solving the problem than when I had first begun. Staring at the monitor with its strange green cursor flashing on the screen, I heard a voice mutter that he hoped I’d at least get a refund when I took the box back to the store the next day.
My confidence disappeared.
For the first time that day I was afraid that I had made a mistake, a humiliatingly expensive mistake. But the voice of my mother sounded right beside me.
“Don’t worry!” she said. I looked up at her, tears in my eyes. “You’ll figure it out. I know you will.”
And I believed her. I believed her because she was my mother and she had said so.
I stemmed the tide of defeatism and kept working. A couple of hours later I had figured out what the manual had left out in its instructions for computer newbies like me. You can’t save a document on a floppy that hadn’t been formatted. So I formatted the disk and saved the file. It worked! I had solved the problem.
But only because I had believed my mother. Her words gave me the confidence to keep trying. To not give up.
It’s been said that by far the greatest number of negative injunctions that Jesus gave are against anxiety, fear, and worry. In Matthew 6:25-34, he says what is repeated elsewhere:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
It should be enough for us that our Lord had commanded us not to worry. After all, if I could believe my mother’s words in a relatively trivial situation, how much more should I believe the One who gave himself on the cross to save me with every aspect of my life, from the least to the great!
Yet time after time anxiety and worry needlessly crowd my mind and absorb my energy. In this we resemble Peter when he saw Jesus walking on the waves and, at his command, walked out on the water towards him. Matthew recounts what happened next by saying,
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matt. 14:30-33)
And after all this is the crux of the command to cast aside our fears and trust him: Jesus isn’t just another human being, however loved; he is God incarnate, whom we love and worship.
He is worthy of our obedience.
So next time you remind yourself or one of your fellow Christians not to worry, believe it. Have faith in the God who loves you. And don’t worry! Because Christ said so.