I didn’t want to be there.
I was outright sulking as we started singing for the vespers service Tuesday night that my classmates and I mistakenly thought we were supposed to attend as part of our class requirement that night. My peers and colleagues had decided to have an impromptu worship service anyway — despite our professor’s absence.
What good seminary students they were.
All I wanted to do was eat my Chipotle chicken wrap in peace and ponder my misfortunes like the profound sinner I was.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,” my classmate began randomly reading out of the book of Matthew.
My posture changed as my ears pricked to the all-too familiar words of Matthew 6 and the Sermon on the Mount.
I had planned to leave 20 minutes early for school Tuesday night, intending to run in some convenience store to grab a Lunchable or premade sandwich to scarf down in the 5 minutes between our evening Vespers service and class. Food consumption is a non-negotiable in my busyness.
But my car wouldn’t start. It glugged and gagged and sputtered. On the third try, I got it to crank, and in a panic, drove to the nearest auto parts store on my route.
After a few routine tests, the auto parts worker shrugged his shoulders. Tentatively, I turned the key in the ignition and my car started up normally.
Next door was a Kroger. I dashed into a parking space and peeled toward the deli area. Nothing at all looked appetizing — all I truly wanted was a warm burrito bowl and a soda from a chain restaurant down the road. I grabbed the much-too-expensive spicy chicken wrap, and checked out.
The car thankfully started again, and I navigated the congested traffic back to my previously planned route. All the while, running over every scenario of possibility should my ever-aging car die on the road or fail to start once I parked it for class.
And I wanted no part of my stupid cold chicken wrap that I knew was going to be too spicy for my uncultured palate.
“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?”
I lifted my worried face to the ceiling of the chapel, feeling the hot tears creep into the corners of my eyes.
Before my obedient classmates usurped the service, I visited the restroom. And discovered my reliable pair of blue jeans were no longer trustworthy, ready to split their threadbare fabric at any awkward prompting.
I walked back to the chapel cursing under my breath. Who has time to go pants shopping? Who wants to go shopping for pants when you’ve got your winter insulation still hanging around your midsection? I might as well shop for swimsuits while I’m at it — it’s all horrific torture anyway. Who has money to go shopping for pants — especially if your car is ready to die? What’s the fewest pairs of pants I can get away with owning before I have to cave and acquire new ones? Ripped jeans are trendy now — what about inner thigh rips?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was 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 — of little faith?”
The tension faded from my shoulders, my fists unclenched, and my tears followed one after the other down my cheeks.
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’”
God was promising God’s everlasting and steadfast provision. A running car, healthy food, and warm clothes are all part of God’s economy. And all God was asking of me at that moment was to worship the God who equipped creation and its stewards with the means not just for survival, but flourishing.
So do not worry, dear friend. Today, there’s enough trouble to tend to; don’t worry about tomorrow, also. The car will get fixed. You’ll find a better meal. Your muffin top won’t hang over every pair of pants you try on. Swimsuits don’t need to be worn for another several months.
If you find you don’t want to be where you are, pause. Maybe God has placed you exactly where God wants you to be.
To hear words of Mercy. Hope. Adoration. Promise. Fulfillment.
And a reminder, Do Not Worry.