“Hey Dad! Catch me!”
The father turned around to see his son jumping from a rock and hurtling straight toward him. They were out in the country climbing some rocks and cliffs and the son had jumped first, then called out to his father.
Dad scrambled and managed to catch his son but they both fell to the ground and Dad got the wind knocked out him. When he finally caught his breath he gasped in exasperation. “Why would you do that? How could you know that I would be able to catch you in time?”
The son looked puzzled at the question and finally said, “Well…because you’re my Dad!” This is the faith of a child, so assured in the trustworthiness of his Father, that he was not afraid to live life to the fullest.
This is the type of faith we should have as Christians, a faith that is sadly all too often lacking.
This is nothing new. Many of us are familiar with the story of Adam and Eve but how many of us understand the truth that is behind the story?
God creates the entire cosmos for the man and woman, our first parents. He creates a special place in creation, a garden where the man and woman can live free of want and walk with Him side by side. He asks only one thing of them in return, their trust.
You know the story. The serpent tempts the woman into eating the fruit that God had forbidden them. She in turn offers it to the man to eat. It is not the fruit that is the issue. The fruit is a symbol of mistrust. Only when both had demonstrated their unwillingness to trust in God did they experience the consequences of their disobedience.
Throughout the history of our salvation, from Adam and Eve, to the present, God has always asked us the same question. Do we trust in Him or in ourselves? It has been said that man has only ever had one problem; he wants to be like God. And because of that we have been plagued by stress and anxiety from the very beginning.
Stress and anxiety will always be with us, they have become part of our fallen nature. But as Christians we should know how to deal with them.
There is a difference between stress and struggle. Everyone in life has to struggle at times – this is because earth is not heaven; we live in a fallen world, so problems will always accompany us.
Stress, the continual plague of modern, post-Christian society, is what happens when we are forced to face and overcome struggles without having a reason to do so.
Think of it this way, there are two ships on a stormy sea.
One ship has a clear destination, a good map, sturdy sails, and a strong rudder. The storm comes up, and the crew has to work hard and suffer to keep the ship on course, but they can do it, because they have the necessary vision and tools.
The second ship has no destination, no sails, no rudder – it’s just drifting along enjoying life day by day as best it can. When the storm comes up, this second ship is completely at the mercy of the wind and the waves. Its passengers are helpless and hopeless.
When we are seeking Christ’s Kingdom first, we are like the first ship: we struggle, but with the inner peace that comes from knowing life’s true purpose. When we don’t seek Christ’s Kingdom first, we too become helpless and hopeless amid the inevitable storms of life.
The treadmill of stress steals our inner peace and strength.
But when we trust in God, when we give our lives completely over to Him, we are freed from that worldly anxiety and stress. We trust that He will give us all we need because he has promised us “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” It has been said that God will not allow us to get into anything He cannot get us out of. When we are so thoroughly assured of the trustworthiness of the Father, we need not fear living life to its fullest.
Trusting completely in God, seeking the Kingdom, by obeying God’s commandments, getting to know God better through prayer, and by bringing others closer to Christ, this is how we will find true, lasting happiness.