Monday, February 07, 2005

Fifth Grade Worries

Ah, to be ten again! That was the life where there was no pressure. There were no cares. Nothing but a whole lifetime ahead, full of promise and unexplored wonder.

As I was reading through Ravi Zacharias' book, Recapture the Wonder, I became lost in one of his analogies. He says that people talk about childhood as being carefree, but in reality kids really do have cares. And he's right. When I was in fifth grade, there were a ton of things I cared about. What will happen if I strike out against my best friend who pitches for the other team? Will I get picked to be in the class play? What if Dad doesn't have time to throw the football when he gets home? How come the Orioles can't win a pennant? Why does my cousin have hair growing under his arms? I wonder if that girl will say yes if I ask her to skate with me at the class party.

Stress? Sure, there was plenty! I certainly didn't want to lose my baseball cards on the playground. I didn't want to be picked for the kick ball game after the nerdy kid. Worries? You bet! Shoot, we took tests! Most adults have put that thought out of their heads until it is time to renew the drivers license. There were plenty of things to be concerned about. Lots of things occupied my mind in my spare time. Even more things clamored for my attention when I didn't have spare time.

Looking back now those concerns seem minor -- even silly. The girl at the skating party is gone. I never won that kick ball scholarship. Hair is growing under my arms now, as well as most everywhere else except my head! Why was I so worried? With the perspective of over thirty years, the cares of a fourth-grader are nothing. After all, today I have some REAL worries to deal with.

Now I become occupied with the kids' grades, saving for college, deciding on new merchandise to sell this Summer, being a good husband, caring for my friends and for the people of the church, fixing the broken light fixture in the living room, finding time for devotions and, of course, the ever critical lack of money. Now, we're talking problems! This stuff is major. I can't leave anything to chance. Worry jumps on my back like a veteran jockey.

Then I'm reminded of Jesus saying something like, "Is your worrying really helping matters any? Don't you think your Heavenly Father will take care of you?"

Then Satan elbows me and asks, "Do you really want to give up control of this? Aren't you the only one who knows what you want?"

And Satan's argument is a good one. I hate to give up control. But by God's grace I can give up control and worry through faith in Him.

Zecharias goes on to say that the worries we have now will fade away in heaven. Just as silly as the worries of a fourth-grader look to a grown adult, our present worries will seem silly to us then. All that will matter is that we are in the presence of our Creator, Savior and Friend along with all the people in the faith who have also made the trip.

This doesn't mean that the concerns of this world aren't worthy of our effort. They just aren't worthy of our worry. Although the thing with my hair is really getting annoying. . .

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