I was reading this morning from Matthew 6 and noticed in the last half of the chapter how often Jesus made the point that God knows what we need before we ever ask or even think about it. Actually the point started back near the beginning of the chapter when He was talking about not doing our spiritual deeds before others to be seen by them and noted that when we give to ones in need, not to make some show of it or we already have all the reward we are going to receive. He turned to the topic of prayer and challenged us not to pray in ways to be seen by others and not to go on and on in our prayers thinking we will be heard for all the things we say, “For the Father knows what you need before you ask him.” It was out of this point that he told them to go into a private place and pray so that it is between you and God. From that came the challenge on what to pray about as a follower of Jesus.
“This, then is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Do you pray like you believe God already knows what you need before you ask? I’m afraid, too often I pray as though I think I need to inform God about what is going on in my life and among the people I love.
Think about how deep God’s knowledge of us and what is going on in our lives, really is. Over in Matthew 10:29-31 Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a Penney? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Do you remember the song that was popular many years ago, “My Jesus knows just what I need?” I think I know my wife, Linda quite well after we have been married for 56 years now, but I can tell you for certain I don’t know how many hairs she has in her head. I don’t even know how many come off into the shower when she washes her hair. If I can’t count those, then I am nothing to compare with God and his knowledge of us.
Jesus told us in Matthew 6:28ff. not to worry about clothes. He pointed to the flowers in the field and how beautiful they are, yet no-one sows them or tends them. Yet Solomon in all his glory wasn’t dressed like one of these. “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘what shall we eat?’, or ‘what shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them.”
God knows! God cares! And God acts in harmony with his knowledge and care for us. Why then is it so difficult for us to trust that he will take care of us in life? Why is worry a constant problem? Why, when we look back on life and see how God has moved and taken care of us down through the years, would we be worried that it might change tomorrow and we will be left alone? I have no doubt what Jesus would say to us in such a situation. He said it far too many times to the disciples who walked with him day after day and observed his amazing miracles. “O you of little faith! Why did you doubt?” If I think for a moment of our friend, Simon Peter, the rock, I am reminded of how he could go from an amazing act of faith like getting out of the boat to walk to Jesus on the water and doing well with it as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, but when he noticed the size of the waves and began looking at them, he sank like a rock. Jesus responded, “Why did you doubt?”
It is easy to say, “Trust God.” It is easy to claim, “I trust Jesus to take care of me.” It is easy to proclaim that we know the Holy Spirit is in us and helping us all the time. Yet in the middle of all such statements we too often live in worry and fear of what will happen next. God knows, God cares and God will take care of us. Our challenge is to “Seek first the kingdom and righteousness of God and all these things will be added to you. Don’t worry about tomorrow for tomorrows will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:33-34).
God, help us to really put our full trust in you and let our weight down in your arms of love.