Posted by: mikenicholsblog | March 4, 2012

it empties today

Last week was filled with working on our tax return. It is a weary and dreadful process for Genel and me each year. We are firm believers in paying our fair share, but we never estimate enough.  Have you ever noticed that worrying about the taxes you owe or extending your return (and misery) doesn’t eliminate the problem? It’s like that with worry! Emotional, and spiritual, and physical energy is given to something that will not change the facts. Corrie Ten Boom gives us great counsel on worry: “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.

As I think about worry, I am struck with two thoughts. First, God’s Word gives us very strong insight about it. And second, most Christ followers worry better than they rest in the Lord’s grace and provision. It’s easy to say, “You don’t know my issues” or “That’s just the way that I am,” but it is clear from Scripture that we have the capacity to overcome this common malady. I find that some areas of life are easy to drift from confident faith to fretful worry (taxes). I know the Word, and have the right answers for others, but without consciously choosing to rest in His power and provision, I can worry up a storm. Pardon my southern roots, but I am sure you can relate.

The words of Luke 12 give us confidence for today’s worry and this year’s taxes.

Luke 12:22-26
Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

The words of Luke are clear. God cares for ravens and He cares for us, and worry won’t add a single hour to our lives. Would it be reasonable to assume that if you and I yield each part of our day to His care, more internal rest will come? I think Scripture is clear.  Victory comes by committing all things to the Father’s care, and then choosing to believe His Word. A scene from the life of George Mueller, a pastor from the 1800′s, gives greater emphasis to my challenge.

The captain of an ocean steamer tells that on one occasion his ship was engulfed in a dense fog off the coast of Newfoundland. It was Wednesday evening and the captain had been off the bridge for 24 hours when someone tapping him on his shoulder startled him. He turned and saw one of his passengers … George Mueller. “Captain,” said Mueller, “I must be in Quebec on Saturday afternoon.” “That’s impossible!” replied the captain, “I’m helpless!” Mueller suggested, “Let’s go down to the chart room and pray.” The captain thought that he had a lunatic on board. “Do you know how dense the fog is?” he asked. “No,” came the reply, “my eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God who controls every circumstance of my life.” Once in the chart room, Mueller got down on his knees and prayed, “O Lord, if it is consistent with thy will, please remove this fog in 5 minutes. Thou knowest the engagement Thou didst make for me in Quebec for Saturday. I believe it is thy will.”

After Mueller prayed, the Captain started to pray. Mueller stopped him and said, “there’s no use for you to pray, God has already answered my prayer. The fog is gone.” AND IT WAS GONE!

It’s paying taxes for me, so what is your issue?  What is the issue that can easily cause stress and worry in your life. If we are not careful, the fog of doubt and discouragement take over. I have found that completely yielding my taxes to the Lord and trusting Him causes the fog to lift. Are you willing to completely release your issues to Him?

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