Hakuna Matata

hakuna pixabayYesterday I saw a bumper sticker that said “Hakuna matata.” That’s it. No warthogs, no lions, just the phrase. (But, Iris, if you’re reading this, I can hear your voice singing in my head!) Perhaps that Swahili phrase, roughly translated “no worries,” should be singing in my head all the time.

“Hakuna” means “there is not here,” and “matata” is Swahili for “problems.” I don’t think we live lives free of problems. Worry, though, is another matter—the matter of what we do in our minds with our problems. I love this quote from The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren (Zondervan 2002).

“When you think about a problem over and over in your mind, that’s called worry. When you think about God’s Word over and over in your mind, that’s meditation. If you know how to worry, you already know how to meditate! You just need to switch your attention from your problems to Bible verses. The more you meditate on God’s Word, the less you will have to worry about.”

I’d like to add that the more we think of our problems in light of God’s word, the more convinced we can become that we have no worries after all. Consider these four familiar passages:

  • “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22).
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
  • What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
  • So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:6).

While not scripture, these wise words, attributed to Corrie ten Boom, call us all to peace and trust as well:

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

And so, instead of losing any of your strength to worry today, I hope you will remember the awesome love and power of our God. Then you can shout within your soul, “Hakuna matata!”

 

What Worry’s Not: Our Curse

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“I Deserve to Worry.”

I’m hoping you’ll throw that lie on the trash heap along with all the other garbage our enemy tries to feed us. He will do anything he can to thwart our intimacy with Christ. His lies might sound like this, “A spiritual baby like you can’t be yielded to the Lord,” or “You sin too much to expect God to handle your concerns.”

Nonsense. A mother hen gathers her chicks, not because they have earned her protection, and certainly not because they have displayed some particular talent or strength, but because they belong to her. Those chicks would be foolish, not to mention uncomfortable, if they stayed out in the storm alone, proclaiming, “We are too weak and insignificant to be worthy of your wings.”

Our weaknesses do not negate God’s love for us, nor do they ever make worry reasonable. Perfection is not a prerequisite for peace. Christ is still our refuge, even when we sin.

Confess. Repent. Receive forgiveness.

We may convince ourselves that we are unworthy of forgiveness and protection, moping around in what appears to be a righteous grief over our misdeeds. But is that grief really righteous, or just denial of God’s grace? Grace, by its very nature, has nothing to do with worth. Christ declared, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32). He is ours, not because we are so good or so worthy, but because we are his.

When we do fall, making excuses wastes time, as does wallowing in our own self-reproach. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Why wait? God will forgive us right away. Our Enemy tries to tell us otherwise, to worry us with that notion that we have irrevocably disqualified ourselves from God’s love and protection. He lies.

God is always ready to forgive us, to love us, to care for us. And so, we never “deserve to worry.”

This post is based on the writings of Hannah Whitall Smith

The Broken Bed

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I was spending the night in a guestroom furnished with a beautiful antique bed. The bed frame hadn’t been assembled properly. Around midnight, the whole thing came apart and sent me crashing to the floor. Once my heart stopped pounding, I spent the rest of the night sleeping on the dislodged mattress. No real harm was done. But what if every night since then I’d gone to bed concerned about a crash? I’d rarely get much sleep even though:

  1. Beds don’t usually come apart in the middle of the night.
  2. A midnight collapse would do little damage.
  3. My useless concern wouldn’t help hold the bed together anyway.

My worries, like all worry, would be a waste of time, stealing my joy and disturbing my peace.

Why do we lay our concerns before the Lord and then fret about how things will turn out? Isn’t that a lot like falling wearily into bed, only to lie there tense and worried all night about whether or not it will hold us? What sort of rest do we miss by such an exhausting habit?

Ahhh, but we can always find a reason to be anxious, an explanation as to why we can’t embrace joy, peace and happiness with a holy abandonment. Our excuses are lame. The Bible discredits each and every one. For example:

WORRY IS INEVITABLE

One excuse for worry goes something like this, “I can’t help but worry because my circumstances are so very frightening!”

BUT

When a violent storm threatened to sink the disciples’ fishing boat, Jesus questioned their fear directly, asking, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” (Mathew 8:26). Our troubles are seldom more terrifying than theirs was.

Troubles compel us to take refuge in God. He stands ready and waiting beside us in every event and circumstance of life. Even in difficult times, the Bible calls on us to praise our compassionate Lord, “who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). He gives us comfort so that we can share it. Have we convinced ourselves that we’re unworthy of God’s loving care? That he has no interest in our trials? That any time now he is going to assign us to some horrible task, leaving us to complete it on our own? None of those worries line up with scripture. He loved us “while we were yet sinners,” knows even the number of hairs on our heads, and promises to equip us for every good work.

No, worry is never inevitable, because God is always bigger than whatever we fear!