Worry always muffles the voice of Jesus, making it easy to misunderstand what he is trying to say to us. After witnessing not one but two miraculous, multiplying feasts, the disciples are in a boat with Jesus, worrying because they forgot to bring enough bread. Jesus is trying to warn them about the influence of the Pharisees and Herod, using yeast as a metaphor, but the disciples completely misunderstand him: “It is because we have no bread,” the assume.
The disciples’ constant worry about having enough bread to eat reveals their lack of faith in God’s provision, even after Jesus fed multitudes twice. It’s almost as if they didn’t recognize that a miracle had occurred. Their worry prevented them from seeing the miracle of provision, and from hearing what Jesus was really saying to them.
Perhaps the disciples never stopped to consider what had happened in the feeding of the 5,000 and 4,000. Perhaps they didn’t even realize that Jesus had performed a miracle through them. As a result they couldn’t hear Jesus warning then about the subtle, deceptive influence of the Pharisees and Herod. Jesus is trying to equip them for mission, and they are totally preoccupied with having enough bread. Jesus is attempting to help them look outward and learn what they need to know to be effective and productive in kingdom work, but they can only look inward, worrying about whether they’re going to be okay.
In the same way, when we’re consumed with worry, it’s difficult to recognize miracles even when they happen right in front of us. Worrying makes it easy to mis-apply what Jesus is saying to us, even when we hear him speak. Worrying is like wearing a blindfold and earmuffs – it makes us blind and deaf to what God is doing and saying.
When we can’t see the miracles God is doing around us, when we’re deaf to his whispers, we quickly become “ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 1:8). Worry stunts fruitfulness. Jesus commanded us not to worry, not just because it would help us feel better, but because he wants us to be able to hear his voice, see what he is doing, and get on with joining him in his mission.
It really is possible to live without worry. Jesus never gives an impossible command. As we move forward in faith, the Spirit comes and empowers us to do what we could never do in our own strength. As we drop our faithless worrying and replace it with patient trust in our Father who loves us, we’ll find the blinders come off and we can see more clearly what God is doing around us. Our spiritual hearing will be sharpened and we’ll be able to hear what Jesus is saying to us, and we’ll be able to join him more effectively in the renewal of all things.
What practices or disciplines have you embraced to help you stop worrying?