Yesterday I spent an hour with my hospice Chaplain. I shared my concern about “leaving things hanging”, and gave her an example of where my files are and my loved ones not being able to find them. Before she could reply, my son spoke up and said; ‘Don’t worry about those things, Dad, we don’t want you to spend your time shuffling files and papers—we’d rather spend the time with you and we’ll find what we need when we need it.
That led to a discussion about “letting go” of our anxieties. My chaplain asked me to tell her a time that I felt God working in my life. I gave her an example from the time of my first wife’s death. She fell and in a week died of severe brain bleed. It was so sudden that I had a hard time dealing with it because I was dealing with a situation that I couldn’t fix. At one point I remember crying and telling God “help me, I can’t do this alone”!! And a sense of peace came over me that let me know that God was present and would help me cope with my grief. That moment changed my relationship with God forever…I truly knew God was in that room!! I felt his presence.
As the chaplain left she gave me this advice: “You need to take all of your anxieties and give them to God. Let go of your anxieties and put your trust in God !”
How many times I have given this advice to people who are approaching end of life, both in the role of a hospice chaplain and a pastor?—yet I had not done it myself. I realized I need to practice what I preach!
I think there is a lesson for all of us, particularly ministers,perhaps, but really it should be a lesson for all Christians. The lesson is that if we really believe God is a God of love and is present in our lives we should put our trust in God in all things. Our anxiety means we are not doing this. We are not trusting God.
We need to read again what Jesus teaches us in the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew, chapter six, when he told his disciples to consider the birds of the air who do not toil or spin, and yet God takes care of them. He tells his disciples that if God does this for birds, why will he not also take care of you for you are worth many birds to God.