Facing changes in life’s circumstances is often fraught with anxiety and stress. The uncertainty and apprehension of the unforeseen and unexpected often create much anxiety and stress. Often people try to mitigate that uncertainty and subsequent stress by seeking to be organized and plan ahead. If one has well laid plans, one can rest more assured that things will go “according to plan,” but when they do not, anxiety and stress can be overwhelming. Surprisingly, making and maintaining such plans can also be a source of stress.

One’s perception of the severity of things “going wrong” often colours one’s reaction to such circumstances. Some may find getting bitten by a rattle snake, if treated promptly and properly, not all that traumatic. Others consider the occasional spider in the bath tub a cause for great panic. From their tiny perspective, spiders are generally not thrilled being stuck in the bath, particularly when the water starts to run (or so spiders claim in chat rooms on the web).

Life is full of the unexpected. That any of us is here at all “as us” given the random nature of human fertilization is itself a testimony to the unexpected, and despite that randomness (or perhaps because of it) we human beings spend much of our lives seeking to control our own destiny, whatever that may or may not mean.

That, however, is an indication of the nature of the human condition. The general anxiety and stress regarding human existence is a symptom of our innate lack of faith, otherwise known as sin. Compare this state of affairs to what Luther in the Small Catechism says about the first article of the Apostles’ Creed:

“I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.”

What does this mean?

“Answer: I believe that God has created me and all that exists; that he has given me and still sustains my body and soul, all my limbs and senses, my reason and all the faculties of my mind, together with food and clothing, house and home, family and property; that he provides me daily and abundantly with all the necessities of life, protects me from all danger, and preserves me from all evil. All this he does out of his pure, fatherly, and divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness on my part. For all of this I am bound to thank, praise, serve, and obey him. This is most certainly true.”

Is this “most certainly true”? We sinners have our doubts. How do we know that God will do those things? What happens if God does not do them or does not do them according to our standards and desires? If God does such things, why do “Bad Things Happen to Good People” as Rabbi Harold Kushner entitled his famous book decades ago?

Our doubts are our sin. That sin means that there are no good people. Consequently, those doubts create and foster fear in us which we try to overcome through so many human efforts and endeavours to safeguard our existence. Except, even our best efforts fall short. To complicate and compound matters, we spend so much time fretting about what God the Father has or has not given us in creation that we sinners overlook the fact that he has given us something which surpasses all our bodily needs. As scripture states, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

God has not only given us his son, but he gave us his son to take our sin away and to give us sinners his son’s righteousness as a free gift, through faith alone, for and as our salvation. Such faith is the gift of eternal life. If God will give the life of his son on the cross to give us the gift of eternal life, then just perhaps God can and will take care of the mundane needs in our daily life. What do you think? More importantly, what do you believe?