ANXIETY AND BEING IN THE MIDDLE
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t there more to life than food and more to the body than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky: They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you more valuable than they are? And which of you by worrying can add even one hour to his life? Why do you worry about clothing? Think about how the flowers of the field grow; they do not work or spin. Matthew 6:24-28
Ever been put in the middle? It’s an awful place to be. There are some whose role it is to be peacemaker. The anxiety of trying to serve opposites is tormenting because pleasing them is impossible. Compromise keeps them at bay but they are never fully satisfied because neither has won.
What does this have to do with the parable about worrying? What I’ll eat? What I’ll wear? What others think of me? Whether I’ll be employed? Whether I’m seriously ill? Anxiety serves Master Satan. Plain and simple. To worry is to wonder if God is faithful and Satan is the author of that. Worry then leads to autonomy. I take matters into my own hands to take care of myself because I believe God won’t.
Remember the daisy game? ‘He loves me – He loves me not.’ Though it was childish, I do remember the bit of suspense as I neared the end of the petals. Which way would it be? Love me – or loves me not? This is the stuff of serving two masters.
When the stakes are high, so is the battle. ‘God loves me – He loves me not.’ Faith is put on the sidelines as I wage the options of trusting God versus taking care of myself (which is serving God’s enemy.) God is unhappy because I fail to know the joy of childlike trust. Satan is unhappy because I entertain the promises of my Father’s word. How is this tug of war won? How do I extricate myself from living between two masters? Remove the power of the evil one.
Satan does not deserve an ounce of attention because he lies about the other Master. If he told the truth, the battle would be understandable. If he predicted outcomes correctly, listening to him would make sense. But nothing he says is true. John reminds me that he is a liar. His very nature is to lie. His default language is based on deceit. So, I step out from the middle today and give him no attention. When the first thought of worry emerges, I snatch it and kill it with the whispered assurances of a faithful Father. Every Word saves me and sends the other would-be master away from my presence.
No middle, Father. No torment. Only a simple, childlike trust built on every single promise You have made. I love how You take care of me. In Jesus’ name, Amen