Worshipping God When the Future Is Uncertain
The first thing I noticed when I stepped outside this morning was the sound of birds singing--a lot of them! I breathed in the fresh air and listened to their song.
I found myself smiling because of the bird songs. It seemed like no matter what the weather was, they were always out in force, reminding me and everyone else that the day is coming.
I couldn’t help but think of a Bible study I did not too long ago on God’s promises in Matthew 6. In this chapter, Jesus is reminding his followers that they don’t need to worry or stress about the future, their security, or anything else. He uses imagery and parables, turning his followers’ attention to the birds, noting:
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
Jesus goes on to say that God already knows what we need. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
For a long time, I read those verses and thought about how awesome it is that we have a God who meets our needs. But it took some time before I could apply its full meaning. Sure, whenever I’d get caught-up in worry over the future, I’d remind myself that God would take care of me. I’d make the decision to trust him…but still fester inside. My stomach would still twist in knots and I’d hold my breath waiting for a resolution.
Then this Bible study came along and I read a commentary by Martin Luther who said that these verses also teach us the proper response to our worries. How? Not only do the birds in the verse refuse to store things, but if you know anything about birds, you know that they’re morning creatures. They wake every day with a song. They don’t sit and worry--they sing, even when it’s cloudy outside or the sun can’t be felt.
When our future is uncertain, it isn’t enough to grit our teeth and bare it. Instead, we can delight in the promise to come—singing and praising God in the meantime.
That’s really hard for me to do. But I’m trying. Since that Bible study, I’ve made a point to push deeper into worship in times of trouble, and I’ve noticed a few changes in myself when I do:
- I become a happier person
- I’m more likely to give out of love instead of abundance
- I grow even closer to God
Each time I’m faced with an uncertain future--whether it involves finances, my kids, or my job--I’m thankful because it’s an opportunity to sing in the morning. Even when it’s cloudy, I know that soon I’ll see the fulfillment of the promise of warmth, sun, and life.
Try this! If you’re experiencing an uncertain future, I encourage you to press into worship as well. It’s amazing how the heart changes, learns, and grows from these times. It’s not always easy (the Lord knows I struggle with it!), but trusting him is truly freeing. So step outside, listen for the birds, and raise your voice along with them. Tomorrow is coming, and with it are God’s promises of provision.