Updated: May 2, 2020
It’s impossible not to worry, isn’t it?
No matter how many times you are told not to worry, you still do. You can’t help it, and rightly so - there are concerning things in our world, things that are wrong and hurtful and evil, things we cannot change or minimize no matter how hard we try. It’s not up to us to fix things, and this drives us crazy to the point that we try as hard as we can to make changes. And we cannot change things, so we do what we feel we can do - we worry.
For Anne and I, we believe that God has promised to do something and we cannot see how it will work out, and this creates worry for us. Sometimes it’s our hay supply, or where we are living, or the fuel we need, or the food to feed our family. And it’s always the future… are we on the right track? Do we trust what God has told us and promised, or do we take it into our own hands?
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” - Philippians 4:6 (CSB)
The original language for the word “worry” or “be anxious” in this part of the Bible was Greek - when you trace the word’s ancestry back to its origins, it reveals just what the author was trying to say. The Greek word is merimnaō, which can be traced back to through meremna and merizzō, to meros and meiromai: the basest words speak about division and parting out. To worry is to water down our focus on truth - to go from a position where we were focusing 100% on the truth, and something comes along to distract some or all of that focus to anything other than truth. To worry is to separate ourselves from pure truth, or to allow distractions to come between us and the truth. “SQUIRREL!” anyone?
Do you worry? Obviously, I know the answer is “yes,” but what do you worry about? What keeps you up at night? What tears your heart apart because you are helpless to change it?
Let me give you my answer to this question:
My heart is continually broken for those who are separated from God, and even for those who think they love Him but are drowning in their own selfishness. There are so many people who are out there longing for peace and need to connect with God - those who control others because they’ve been controlled, those who have given up God because they’ve been hurt in His name, those who destroy, sabotage or self-destruct, all because they are in pain and cannot (or will not) come to the God who saves.
It is my deepest desire to reach these people, especially in my own community - and yet only a handful of supporters are my immediate area - 95% of all the support we have received has come from outside our area. This is shocking and, honestly, shameful. The people in our community are some of the most pain-soaked and miserable people I’ve ever come across, and when they have the opportunity to take advantage of someone who lives to show love and compassion and help them, they ignore it or walk away. I know truth is hard. I know that discomfort is hard to bear, and yet we do it every day to ourselves. Discomfort and pain are a part of life, but to be constantly in pain is not something we were created for. And yet God is right here waiting for us to come to him.
This is where Brave Sky brings horses in: as hard as it is to come to God because somehow we believe we don’t deserve it, or He will condemn us, or it’s not worth the effort, horses are an excellent representative of the nature of the God of the Universe. He listens without judgment, He wipes the slate clean, and He approaches us where we are and treats us as gently as we need - just as horses do.
This post is about worry, and it seems that I’ve gotten off the beaten path about it, but really, I’ve just explained to you where my heart lies and what Brave Sky aims to do. I’ve also laid out a portion of why worry takes my attention, more now than before, even when I should trust in the truth of promises God has made.
I’ve spoken before about (Simon) Peter, one of the disciples of Jesus, who was known for quick action with little forethought. In many ways I admire his grit and propulsion because someone like that gets things done for God in a mighty way. At the same time, it opens a huge door for doubt and distraction, and therefore, worry, because all action and no thought can truly get you in trouble, no matter who you are or what your goal is. My favorite story about Peter was when he and the other disciples were on a boat in a nasty storm and they thought they were going to die.
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. After dismissing the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. Well into the night, Jesus was there alone. Meanwhile, the disciples in the boat were already some distance from land, battered by the waves, because the wind was against them. Jesus came toward them walking on the sea very early in the morning. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost! ” they said, and they cried out in fear. Immediately Jesus spoke to them. “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter answered him, “command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand, caught hold of him, and said to him,“You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those in the boat worshiped Jesus and said, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
- Matthew 14:22-33 (CSB)
The disciples saw someone walking through the waves, and in their panic, somehow they completely forgot that Jesus could control water, and they were afraid of whoever that spirit was. But Peter could see, or maybe he just hoped, that it was no spirit - that it was Jesus coming toward them, unfazed by the storm. Suddenly, Peter decided that wherever Jesus was would be the safest spot for him too, so he screamed for Jesus to prove Himself by telling Peter to join Him on the water. And Jesus, compassionate and patient, did. And Peter wasted no time jumping out to run toward Jesus, and he was running on top of the water! And as quickly as he found that focus, it was divided. He got distracted. And he began to sink. The strength and force of the wind first divided his focus, then it stole it away from Jesus altogether. It’s here that Peter fought to put his focus back on Jesus, but it was too late to ignore the waves that were crashing over him - and all he could do was to ask for Jesus’ help. It never says Peter was back on top of the water, but it does say that Jesus was holding his hand and holding him up enough to get them back into the boat together. And Jesus had to ask Peter, though it was clearly a rhetorical question, “Oh Kid, why did you get distracted?”
Jesus was so patient with these guys, who had been the product of thousands of years and generations who knew of God but refused to obey His directions. Their nation was woefully addicted to worshiping anyone but their God, and yet they blamed Him when their disobedience got them into trouble. He was still faithful to them, to the point that He is still keeping His millennia-old promises, even today. The physical nation of Israel still exists and is still inhabiting the land God originally promised them, but not without consequences for all the times their ancestors spit on God’s goodness and generosity.
As for Anne and I, we come from the same generations of faithless, unfaithful people who were magnetically drawn to anyone but the One True God. But He promised that He would set aside a small portion of descendants, those whose hearts actually wanted to follow Him and follow His directions. We recently watched a video by The Bible Project that outlined the overview of the Biblical book of Haggai, the last book in the Old Testament, before Jesus came on the scene. Here we (again) see God pleading with His people to follow His directions and keep the promises they made to be faithful to Him. This was the same theme repeated throughout most of the Old Testament, the covenant that He made with His people - almost like a marriage contract. “I’ll be faithful, and you’ll be faithful.” (Not “I’ll be faithful IF you’ll be faithful.”) This is the reason why He kept referring to His unfaithful people as an “unfaithful wife.” They refused to keep their promises to Him and went off to worship things instead of a living, loving God.
As humans, we get into ruts: pursuing the American Dream (financial and personal freedom), making money to save up and spend on ourselves and our pleasures, reaching an age where we choose to stop working to make money and use that saved-up stash to enjoy ourselves and recuperate from all the years of hard work that we spent saving. None of these options sound selfless, and in most ways they aren’t. What about those who have less when we have an abundance? What about the bonus God provided in your paycheck around Christmastime that you weren’t expecting and you’ve hidden away for a rainy day?
I know it sounds like I’m getting at an uncomfortable subject, and you’re right - I am.
I’m tired of people obsessed with making money, saving for retirement, traveling around and ignoring others, focusing on enjoying their nest egg instead of continuing to work in another way, using their abundance to help others and serve where the needs are. This world is so selfish and petty, and most people who claim to love and follow God have adopted the very same mindset they say they abhor! When your life is examined, is God your god, or is something else your number one priority?
Anne and I have enough personal experience to be able to pinpoint what things have taken over years of our lives instead of the God we claimed to serve and prioritize… and when He finally did become our priority, we were ashamed of our wasted years. From that point on, we made every effort to use our remaining time on earth to follow His direction in every area of our lives, support His people and ministries, and reach out to those who desperately need Him. God’s true people never reach retirement - they work until they day they die because following God is not just a lifestyle, it’s also a career. It’s a position that should be improving and a skill that should be increasing daily. Following God never stops, and it never ceases.
It’s disheartening to recall that we’ve asked for help and nobody has stood to support us - we have folks praying for us, one monthly-recurring donation, and bits of financial help here and there - but we have had nobody make a real effort to partner with us and help us help others. We aren’t seeking purely financial partnership! We’re asking for those of you who read our blog posts and agree with our goals, that you take an interest and an active part of the mission God has called all His people to - reaching out and helping those who need Him! There are many organizations who are doing God’s work and they are short-handed on volunteers, or funding, or people using whatever resources and talents they have to support God’s work!
I am sitting here, typing this, waiting for God to provide for Brave Sky, His ministry, but honestly, I can see that He is starting to prompt and nudge those who claim to be His. He wants to see commitment and action, not self-centeredness and passivity. He wants bold, brave, determined and heroic people who spread His goodness like wildfire! This is our goal!
Are YOU following when He leads you to give? Is the reason you don’t because you’re worried that you won’t have enough, or that it will cut into your bottom line? Are you being distracted by the things this world thinks are important, but God says are trash? This is a critical mindset to have - we want you to be sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that your motives for NOT giving to ministries in need is because God is not leading you to. But then again, are you ignoring His leading, or covering your ears, or drowning out His voice in favor of your own greed and pleasures?
I can say all these things because these used to be my excuses for not giving. Now, my only reason for not financially supporting anyone is because we literally have no excess to give. When we did, we gladly gave it; and often times it went to those who were in need… and were later selfish and ungrateful for the help, as if they were entitled to it from God.
Brave Sky exists to help people in need and lead them to healing. We need funding to do this. I appreciate you reading this post, but I need you to hear me - WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT AND YOU NEED TO STEP UP. If people are not going to support us, why should Brave Sky exist? God desires for all His people to work together and take part in His work - for each of us to have skin in the game. If you aren’t participating, that’s to YOUR disadvantage too! You are keeping yourself from blessings of helping others! You are limiting yourself to your own selfishness!
God’s people are called to be a light - if you aren’t shining, you aren’t following. I can’t count how many times I have literally talked to people and nobody will commit do anything. Of the 7+ billion people on this earth, why would Brave Sky need to succeed if nobody feels they need God? This makes us pointless! Why would He supernaturally provide for us if none of our readers want to step out and help?
Let’s look at it this way: you know those fundraisers that ask people to pledge funds, and they tell you that there’s a financial partner who will match, double or triple the pledges that come in within certain parameters. THAT FINANCIAL PARTNER IS GOD, and He promises to exponentially multiply the amounts given to Brave Sky!
I know I’m not going to be popular by speaking out on this subject, but it needs to be said: you need to stop being selfish and refusing to help others. It’s a fact.
I can choose to be worried, but in the face of the fear, I choose to Be Brave because I know God wins this fight and He will raise up His people to support His work! And yet, I am worried for you! Will you be one of those people?
GOD IS USING US AS HIS MEGAPHONE TO RAISE A DEAF NATION. THAT NATION IS YOU! If you say you’re His but your life is not following Him, you should be worried because your focus is not on the truth: God is more important than anything else.