“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)
“Poor boy! How little you know about things! Mr. Coleman’s lost all his money, and your father has nothing to do, and we shall have nothing to eat by and by.”
“Are you sure mother?”
“Sure of what?”
“Sure that we shall have nothing to eat.”
“No thank Heaven! I’m not sure of it. I hope not.”
“Then I can’t understand it, mother. There’s a piece of gingerbread in the basket, I know.”
“O you little bird! You have no more sense than a sparrow that picks what it wants, and never thinks of the winter and the frost and the snow.”
“Ah—yes—I see. But the birds get through the winter, don’t they?”
“Some of them fall dead on the ground.”
“They must die some time. They wouldn’t like to be birds always. Would you, mother?”
“What a child it is!” thought his mother, but she said nothing…and was silent for a good while. I cannot tell whether Diamond knew what she was thinking, but I think I know. She had heard something at church the day before, which came back upon her—something like this, that she hadn’t to eat for tomorrow as well as for today; and that what was not wanted couldn’t be missed. So instead of saying anything more, she stretched out her hand for the basket, and she and Diamond had their dinner.
At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald
“The story has already been written. I know how it ends.”
Some authors are safe. I know by the writing and the tone that things will be okay. Brian Jacques may let a creature die here or there, but I know the weasels will lose and the mice will win in the end. I knew that Harry Potter would triumph over Voltemort even when the story told me that he couldn’t do this without sacrificing himself. Even in Jean Valjean’s death, there is beauty in the masterpiece. There is redemption in the priest’s final words in The Scarlet Letter.
These writers have a particular tone to their work. There’s something rhythmic and comforting about the way they put words, and I find myself trusting the author with my emotions. I fall in love with the characters, and I will mourn for them as I would a friend, if they die, but I don’t stop trusting the author. I know these kinds of authors. Things will be all right in the end.
Why can’t the analogy work for real life just as easily? I know the author. I know how the story ends. Why am I stuck here in the details? Why do I keep doing tomorrow’s work today?
How easy, I thought, it was to believe God when I was younger? I had nothing to worry about, but— what did I worry about when I was young? Who knows? I don’t think I worried about anything. Oh, wait! No. I worried about the dark void under my bed. I worried about the eyes that might appear at the dark window. I worried about getting lost. I worried about the dog when Daddy punished him.
But now my world is larger. I have house payments and binders for each bank account and plants to water and food in the refrigerator, and computer updates, and bricks to replace, and flooring to tape off, and outlets to change, and other’s finances to keep straight, and reimbursements to make, and counters to clear, and pictures to transfer, and school is coming, and hurry, and birthday’s too, and lists, lists, lists. Is my God not great enough for all the details? Has my God grown as I have grown like Aslan did for Lucy in Prince Caspian? But there are so many things to remember, to remember, to remember.
I take all the worries of this month and rest them on today’s thoughts, so that my mind is like a swarm of bees and I can’t think and feel as I ought, as I would if I lay all these things on a being who is big enough to support them, big enough to swallow them in his greatness.
“But if I don’t who will?” I ask.
Haven’t we answered this question already?
“But I’ll fight to keep them. I’ll fight to have them until I’ve had a sore throat for over a month and I have only enough energy each day to work until noon.”
Is that how you wish to be taught?
“I can go to the doctor. He’ll tell me its allergies or something like that.”
"You better now that you’ve come this far.”
“But Lord, can’t you just heal me? “
It’s much more than that. It’s a day-to-day casting your cares upon me.
“But everything I see: every assignment from my parents, every pestering piece of paper and left out juice bottle and pair of forgotten shoes. It all gives me something to do. I’d need blinders over my eyes not to start these mental lists. I’d only need to see one thing at a time, and that thing to be the one thing that I am doing.”
Do you think that I’m not big enough?
“Of course I don’t, but how will you do it?”
When you trust me from the start.
“But lord, it’s every moment and every instant of every day. With some rest, yes, but not much. This is how you always do it. You just tire me out until I’ve got nothing else, but to turn to you.”
You refuse to give up sooner.
“Oh God. I give up. I give up. I give up. I can’t do it all and you know I can’t. I don’t know how to trust you at every moment at every time of every day, but I know how to do it now. And I don’t want to take on tomorrow’s trusting, today. So, I give you all the worries about worrying, please give me your peace as I go to bed.”