Tomorrow, I’ll be plane-hopping my way to the Middle East. Today, I have a million things to do. Well, technically it’s less than a million, but I’ve got that silent panic feeling in my stomach that always seems to drive me to denial and ultimately procrastination – as if that will get the (less than a) million things done. And, like last time, like so many times in my life, there’s that voice quietly telling me that I am going to fail, I’m not good enough, I’m going to screw everything up for my team, there’s no point in even trying unless I masochistically want to fall flat on my face. Those fears even materialize into deceptively realistic nightmares that hang in the back of my mind for weeks, extremely disconcerting for a person who never remembers their dreams at all.
Yesterday God provided in a small but important thing regarding my trip, and in gratitude I thought of the verse about how your Father in heaven cares even about sparrows, and how much more then he cares about you. What is that reference again, I mused. A magical thing about the internet is you can Google (or Bing, if you Bing) even the vaguest word of a verse and get a the exact verse you’re looking for. Sort of. I was actually looking for Matthew 6: 25-34, but Googling “verse about sparrows” sent me instead to Matthew 10: 26-33, which was not what I had thought I wanted, but ended up being what I needed. If I had a nickel for every time God gave me what I needed instead of what I wanted – I would have a lot of earthly treasure that would mean nothing compared to the treasure of his presence.
Here’s what Matt 10: 26-33 says (Jesus is speaking):
“So have to fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”
(ESV, boldedness mine)
The greater danger than the person who attacks you head-on is the person sneaking up behind you. A convincing lie will trap you where words of opposition will not. As a favorite teacher of mine says, “Those who are deceived don’t know that they are deceived, because they’re deceived!”
The gripping anxieties are not gone, but they’ve been lessened by Google’s non-coincidental diversion to a word I did not intend to find, but God meant for me in that moment. He provided yet again. He always does!