I am a chronic worrier.
I worry about the past.
I worry about the present.
And of course, I worry about the future.
Mostly, I worry about what might happen.
When I was a kid, I took it upon myself to constantly remind my little sister to stay close when we were in stores or restaurants or amusement parks. I was so worried about losing her somewhere in a crowd; apparently, I was completely oblivious to the fact that I had two parents who absolutely knew where she was and whose actual job it was to keep tabs on her. I assumed their role because I worried that if I didn’t, my sister would get separated from us or kidnapped or something. (It was the 80’s. We were all concerned about being kidnapped by a stranger who promised us candy.) I thought that if I didn’t take on the worrying, overseeing position at the age of nine, then something really bad could happen.
It’s ridiculous now to think I was running the family at nine years old, but that’s how I viewed it. If I didn’t do the job, then everything would fall apart.
I think at it’s core, that’s what worrying is about.
It’s fretting about what might happen and assuming control to make sure the “might” doesn’t become reality. But whatever control we think we may have is just an illusion. No matter how much I like to think I can run my life, I’m not the one calling the shots.
To be clear, this isn’t about doing the things you should do to protect your kids or feed your family or to generally be a responsible person. No, I’m talking about dwelling on the “what-if’s” in life and not trusting God to do His job well. I’m talking about being a controlling person and running on frenetic activity to make sure my plans come to fruition because no one has thought this through like I have. What I’m talking about is living my life like I’m all-knowing, all-wise, and all-powerful.
Newsflash: I’m not. (And neither are you.)
I can’t remember when it was exactly when I wrote the song “I’ll Never Let You Go,” but I know where I was living at the time because I can see myself at the piano in that particular house when I wrote it, so it must have been sometime between 2005-2006. I also know I was completely consumed with my infertility at the time and had taken it upon myself to worry endlessly about my future. What if there were no kids in it? Could I really be okay with the prospect of never experiencing pregnancy? What if adoption turned out to be a dead end? Would we be lonely when we grew old? Would I ever be okay with the way my life was turning out to be? What if I never actually became a mother? What if my circumstances never changed?
So I worried and made plans which didn’t pan out because I’m not sovereign or wise, and it wasn’t ever in my job description to assume the role of my Creator.
I need songs to remind me of truth, so I set out to write a song from God’s point of view, which is a bit tricky since I’m not Him (though I definitely have acted like I thought I was Him). But since Jesus addressed worry head-on in His Sermon on the Mount, I had plenty of material to work with. In Matthew 6, Jesus says this:
This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grown: they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you—you of little faith? So don’t worry, saying, “What will we eat? or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-36, HCSB)
It has to be one of the most practical paragraphs in the Bible, right? If the birds and the flowers have all their needs met by God, how much more can we trust God with our own care? As bearers of His image, we matter more to Him than flowers and birds. If He is so attentive to their hunger and physical needs, how much more attentive is He to us? Worrying doesn’t add to your height or your life span, He says. In other words, worrying about your life gains you nothing. It’s wasteful because He holds us in His hands, He knows what we need, and He is trustworthy. If we could move our attention from worry to seeking His kingdom, our time would be much better spent because we can trust that the Lord will provide for our needs. Instead of fruitlessly trying to do His job, which we are ill-equipped to do, we should focus our attention on obedience for the sake of His kingdom. All our striving and frantic fretting is a big, huge waste of time as well an expression of unbelief in God’s sovereign character.
We can rest in the fact that our sovereign God holds all things together. It’s not hard for Him. He’s not frantically pacing the heavens trying to figure out what to do next; He is not surprised by anything or caught off guard. He has ordained your days for you before you were even born (Psalm 139:16). And what’s more, our hearts are eternally safe when we follow Christ. According to John 10, He’ll never let us go. He says it more than once: “My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:27-29)
So, fretting is useless and worry is wasteful, when I’ve got you here in My hands.
Nothing can pass through My purposeful fingers that I did not intend.
And I will be faithful when you are faithless; there’s safety in trusting My Word
‘Cause I am sovereign and I’m always working, and—
I’ll never let you go.
You can purchase the song “I’ll Never Let You Go” at my Bandcamp Site or wherever you buy your music online.
You can listen here: