This is my comfort in my affliction: for your word has revived me. – Psalm 119:50
Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? —Matthew 6:26
Many of us are worried. Despite Jesus’ reminder to us that the Father feeds even the sparrow, we worry. In uncertain times our worries intensify. As we confront the coronavirus, many of us are anxious about our health, that of our loved ones, and our economic futures.
In troubled times—even those we have encountered in our lives long before the present ones—we may be forgiven for being anxious about the future. We might even skeptically ask when we experience suffering, or witness it in our world if it is true that God feeds the sparrow, that God takes care of all his creatures. How might we respond to what the scriptures say about how God will take care of us?
We all know that one of the great mysteries is that bad things happen to good people. (We might also be forgiven for asking why good things happen to bad people!) Great minds, including those of the Fathers of the Church, struggled and do struggle to find an answer that fully satisfies us. We want guarantees of justice and freedom from hardship. Those aren’t promised to us.
Although Christians believe in a Jesus who was one-hundred percent divine, we also believe in a Jesus who was fully human. And this is the Jesus who asked in the garden that, if it were in keeping with God’s will, perhaps the cup of suffering and death might pass him by. Perhaps God would allow him to avoid the cross.
We are in a time of change. Not to minimize the crisis we are in, but the world is always changing. Just as the gifts from God—our joy, our love for each other, our talents, our capacity for good works--are always available to us, suffering and death are always close by. As the world changes, God does not change. When it seems the world trembles beneath our feet, God is like an unshakeable rock. That rock, God himself, does not fall away. Nor does his love for us diminish.
Father, we bring our worries to you.
On the unshakeable rock which is your love for us,
we lay down our troubles.
We seek your protection and guidance,
your daily reminders to care for one another,
that we will be your hand who feeds our brothers and sisters.
We pray that you allow us to find the joy and delight
in one another as we devote time together in our homes.
We pray for the sick, the fearful.
We pray especially for all those who work
to combat disease and care for the sick
and we remain grateful daily for these and all your gifts.