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Don’t worry – be happy

What God has planned for us

Worry besets us all – no matter how successful we are, no matter how much money we have. Those who have “made it” worry about those who are coming along behind to replace them. We are anxious and concerned about many things. This is particularly true here in Michigan with our faltering economy. And it’s not just here. Many households require two incomes just to keep ahead of rising expenses. Additionally, there is the Iraq war, Internet predators on the hunt for sex with our children, worries over whether or not our kids will be successful in school, and other dark forces lurking just outside the walls of our homes.

To whom or what can we turn so that we can face all of these powerful forces arrayed against us?

Jesus has some advice for us. To be sure, he wants us to have faith in our loving and caring Father. But we must remember that faith without works is useless. St. James, the cousin of Jesus and the leader of the Judeo-Christian community in the earliest days of the church, wrote:

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:14-17)

Being provident literally means, “looking ahead.” God gave us brains with which to worship him, not just hearts with which to love him. Preparing for the contingencies of this world is an essential part of living out our faith. The command God gave to Adam and Eve is also his command to us. He told them (and us) to till the soil, care for the animals, and subdue the earth. He gave us work, not as a punishment – but as a gift – so that with him, we could bring the earth to its destiny, to accomplish his purposes, not ours.

Being provident, providing for our future and for the moral and material welfare of our children, is not an indication of a lack of faith on our part. It is an act of faith in obedience to the God who made us – so that we might plan for the future providentially, but let go of our worries and give them to him.