Anxiety, Hope and Our Father

Day 1 of 7 • This day’s reading


A Father Who Sees

Life can be hard. People used to have it easier, right? Jesus taught during a simpler time—that is, if we consider a simple life one lived under the threat of sickness and death, military oppression, an unjust tax system, and hypocritical snakes for religious leaders.

A hard life is hardly new. In the first century, Jesus’ audience must have felt enormous pressure from all sides. Israelites likely worried about leprosy (Mark 1:40) and deadly sicknesses, lacking antibiotics for infections or even an understanding of germs. Citizens lived in occupied territory with the Roman soldiers extorting money from them (Luke 3:14). The Roman government hired corrupt tax collectors who cheated workers out of their hard-earned cash (Luke 19:2, 8). While Israelites could have gained hope from their faith, Pharisees and teachers of the law squashed God’s followers under mountains of religious minutia, killing joy and stealing hope (Matthew 23). Living under all this weight must have made Jesus’ hearers anxious.

Where is God when we’re anxious, when we have real stress? What hope do we have when we face similar issues—illness, injustice, money worries, and few prospects for the future? 

Jesus spoke to our anxiety and offered hope. He wanted the burdened people of His time to know His Father. As He taught on the mountainside, He reminded them—and us—that our heavenly Father sees and cares.

If those who listened knew the story of Abraham, this would not have been a new idea to them. When Abraham’s wife, Sarai, unjustly threw her Egyptian slave, Hagar, (pregnant with Abraham’s child) out into the desert to fend for herself, God saw. “The angel of the Lord” found Hagar (Genesis 16:1-7). The Lord met Hagar in her misery and cared for her, enough that Hagar gave the Lord the name, “the God who sees me” (Genesis 16:11-14).

Speaking to anxious people, Jesus called this same God “your Father in heaven,” He “who sees” (Matthew 6:1, 4). Hypocrites won’t get away with fooling Him. Even better news: He’ll reward those who live generous lives, doing good without fanfare. A good father doesn’t expect perfection from his small child and doesn’t need to be persuaded to love his offspring by their good deeds. Our Father knows when we’re trying and loves it when we trust Him. He sees.

What can you lay out before the Father in prayer today? He sees, cares, and wants you to talk with Him about what’s on your heart.