February 17

Text: Matthew 6:25

"For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? (NASB)

Struggle!  If we asked a broad band of people from many different cultures to declare a common experience that characterized the life-experience of all people, those people might suggest that an experience all share is struggle.  Everyone knows struggle in some form.  The form of struggle will change, but it is still present.  We may try to hide from it, but no one escapes it.

True, the greater the economic privation of the person, the more obvious struggle becomes.  However, hidden or obvious, struggle is still there.  Sickness, hunger circumstances, thirst circumstances, death, sorrow, and fear figure into everyone’s existence--regardless of wealth.

A certainty guaranteed to offend anyone is to seriously suggest that the person has never known and does not presently know struggles.  Struggle is not determined by comparison.  Fear is fear.  Dread is dread.  Anxiety is anxiety.  The cause of “your” struggle experience may not be the cause of “my” struggle experience, but cause does not determine the reality of the struggle.

Thus, everyone spends a lifetime seeking to escape struggle.  We think escaping struggle is a matter of changing people, or geography, or clothing, or food, or economic conditions, or having power, or achieving status, or having possessions.  It is not.  We know people who have what we dream of, and (if we know them well) we know they still struggle—we may not understand why they struggle, but they do.  The harsh reality: improving a circumstance does not eliminate struggle.

Jesus said to poor people, “Food and clothing will not eliminate anxiety.”  Why?  His answer: “Life is about more than satisfying physical needs.”  One may mask struggle, but masks do not destroy it.

Suggestion for reflection: What is your life about?  Will that end your worries?  (Read 1 Peter 5:6, 7.)

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