I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Phillippians 4:13. There was a seminary student studying the Book of Revelation
cramming for his theology exam. He went out in the corridor of his dorm room for a drink of water and ran into the building custodian mopping the hallway floor. The seminarian was murmuring under his breadth how difficult it was to understand the Book of Revelation with so many symbols, metaphors and nuances. Of course the custodian heard the seminary student and while mopping the floor said, “Revelation—Simple, Nothing to It!” The seminary student was astonished. Here he has been studying the Book of Revelation for a couple of semesters, banging out notes from weeks on end of lectures and this simple man, the custodian, claims that the Book of Revelation is understood as basic knowledge and common to anyone. “Yes,” said the custodian, “the Book of Revelation is simple because God Wins!”
Simple isn’t it? God owns the whole ball of wax. All we do is get to play in God’s sand box because he loves each of us and is sharing his toys with us to play with on this planet. By the way God sure has the biggest train set I have ever seen down at the Santa Fe Train Station.
Love has three causes. We desire goodness. We are made and desire to know because we are process beings who grow by the knowledge as we accumulate facts and data, We are not realized beings who know everything at once. We desire similarity. We don’t typically care for things or people that we have no identity with. Thus we do not love them. If we do love them it would take the grace of God to cause us to. Jesus did that kind of love on the cross for people around him that were not those particularly loveable in the first place.
The four effects of love according to St. Thomas Aquinas are unity-the desire to be one with another. Indwelling- is the empathy and sympathy each of us have for the one who is loved. Ecstasy- is the enthusiasm we have for the beloved. It is like the love we have for the Chargers when they are winning and advancing towards the Super Bowl. It is the love of a husband for his wife who is proud to show off photos of his wife to others. Then there is the final effect of love, -zeal. This is the action of one who loves another so much he is willing to take up a cause on their behalf. Saints who love God are generally found to be missionaries, others remain cloisters loving others praying on behalf of all us who do not pray.
It’s what I want you to do, is to replace worrying about others with the virtues of unity, indwelling, ecstasy and zeal. Pray for them because in the end God wins and he knows the outcome and ending of the movie plot. We must trust that God knows best. To do otherwise is to sin and turn away from God because we know better than He.
“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34
It’s one thing to worry about yourself, about your own health, wealth, and comfort, but worrying about others is another matter. You love them so you worry about your children, your grandchildren, your husband or wife, global warming, conservatives, liberals, the poor the rich, blacks, whites heterosexuals, homosexuals, trans-genders, autistics, cancer patients, terminally ill etc..etc. And yet you cannot change a lick, the outcome of all these folks by worrying what might go wrong with them.
Worry is destructive. It gnaws at your nerves. It robs you of joy. Worrying about others is especially difficult because you have less control. Studies have found that rats go crazy when they have no control over their situation. People are not much different.
Mental patients in the hospital are reported to struggle going to sleep because they fear losing control. Ultimately, you have little control over the lives of the loved ones you worry about. What can you do besides worry?
“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanks giving let your request be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6
That is what Jesus did when he was concerned about Peter and His apostles. “Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat. But I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail.” Luke 22:31-32
Worry is the opposite of Faith. Worry and Sin are the same. If you really believe that the Lord cares about your loved ones, you can trust him to manage things. When Jesus said the poor will always be with you he was teaching that our focus must be on Him and the Father. So what are we to do?
Pray and then move your feet in the present. Contribute to your cause financially or volunteer. If you don’t like transgender people invite them over for dinner. Jesus said invite people you don’t like to be with you. What good is your service if it is only for people you like, even sinners do that. Zacchaeus was considered by most to be a greedy capitalistic blood sucker Roman puppet collecting their taxes yet Jesus dined with him.
Children and grandchildren worry is useless. God gave them talents, challenges and free will to help make them better people. God gave others for you to be like Jesus and pray for them as He did and trust God to be God. Pray that God will give them grace to make it through their difficulties.
As for worrying about the world, The Book of Revelation symbolically sees the earth go through churn, like the kneading of bread. Only the best breads come out baked and delicious when they have been properly kneaded. Of course the Book of Revelation translates the churn/turmoil results into a new heaven and new earth, where there are no longer, tears shed. It’s all up to God’s plan and we must trust he knows what He’s doing. The waters of life become more purified by running over the jagged mountain streams of suffering!
Often times I hear people say about their military or their sports team, “Is God on our side.” Abraham Lincoln responded, “Let’s not worry about whose side God is on but that we are on God’s side!”
Here are a couple of my favorite evening prayers I would like to share with you—Ps 37
“Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for thy love’s sake. Amen”
“Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we your unworthy servants do give you most humble and hearty thanks for all your goodness and loving kindness to us and to all men.
We bless you for our creation, preservation and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, for the means of grace, and the hope of glory.
And we beseech you, Dear Lord, to give us that due sense of all your mercies, that our heart may be un-feignedly thankful and that we show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen”