Yes. Let's imagine for a moment the situation
at the Red Sea during the time of Moses.
The children of Israel (roughly two million
people) had just been liberated from Egypt.
They were essentially trapped at the Red
Sea. The sea was in front of them, the
mountains were on their sides, and the
chariots of Pharaoh were bearing down
on them. Panic was creeping over them.
The text says, "they were sore afraid
- and they cried out to the Lord."
(Ex. 14:10) Moses told them to "Fear
ye not, stand still, and see the salvation
of the Lord
.The Lord shall fight
for you, and ye shall hold your peace."
(Ex. 14:13) We all know, of course, that
Moses raised his rod and the sea parted.
The people, who moments ago were scared
to death, walked safely across on dry
land. These same people, not long thereafter,
were hungry and thirsty, and again murmured
against Moses. Meeting their needs, the
Lord rained manna and quail down from
the heavens as regularly as clockwork
for as long as they needed it.
There is another wonderful story in II
Kings involving Elisha. When warring against
Israel, the king of Syria was having trouble
getting the upper hand because Israel
always seemed to know his plans in advance.
He determined that Elisha was the one
who was helping them. So the next morning,
Elisha's servant awoke to find them surrounded
by "horses and chariots and a great
host." The servant cried out, "Alas,
my master! What shall we do?" Elisha
responded by praying for his servant,
"Lord I pray thee, open his eyes,
that he may see." (II Kings 6:17)
The Lord responded by opening the servant's
eyes. The result was that when the Syrians
attacked, they were struck with blindness
and were led into the Israelite city of
Samaria. There the captives were given
bread and water and sent home to their
master. That was the end of Syria's attacks
(at least for a while).
There are literally dozens more stories
like this scattered throughout the Old
and New Testaments. They involve many
of the main characters, including Abraham,
Sarah, Hagar, Jacob, Rachel, Joseph, Moses,
Hannah, Samuel, Saul, and David. One of
the main common denominators among these
people is that they all prayed to the
Lord, in one fashion or other. Oftentimes
the next line reads, "The Lord heard
; the Lord remembered
." Heartfelt prayer seems
to be the key here. The same can be said
of those who approached Jesus for healing.
Some of them did so at great risk to themselves,
but they were undaunted (lepers, Jairus,
Syrophoenician woman, etc.).
There is, perhaps, no more explicit discussion
of this topic than Jesus' own words in
the Sermon on the Mount. He specifically
says, "Take no thought for your life,
what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink;
nor yet for your body, what ye shall put
on. Is not the life more than meat, and
the body than raiment?" (Matt. 6:25)
And for those who didn't get it the first
time, he repeats it in 6:31: "Therefore
take no thought, saying, What shall we
eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal
shall we be clothed? (For after all these
things do the Gentiles seek:) for your
heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need
of all these things."
The bottom line here is that anxiety
is pointless; trust in the Father is well-based.
These words were spoken to people for
whom starvation and poverty were commonplace.
Perhaps because of this, Jesus reminds
them of the Father's active care throughout
His creation, even mentioning birds and
wildflowers. Birds don't plant, fertilize,
and harvest, yet they eat daily. Wildflowers
grow in abundance without the benefit
of human cultivation. How much more likely
is it, then, the reasoning goes, that
the Father would take care of those who
call on Him by name? Put in this way,
even the poorest person would have to
admit that there are things more important
than food and clothing. Jesus continues
by saying that all the worrying in the
world cannot add inches to our height.
There are limits to what can be accomplished
even by the best worriers.
So Jesus says, "Stop worrying."
(The present imperative indicates the
disciples had worried; now they are to
stop it.) Jesus makes the point that "your
heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need
of all these things." Jesus is not
trying to convince us we don't have these
needs; he is saying don't worry about
them. Trust in the Father to supply them.
Worry and stress should not be characteristics
of the Father's children. However, (and
there is a however here) this does not
suggest that the child of God will be
given these things automatically without
effort or work or foresight. Rather, it
is addressing the problem of anxiety,
worrying, and stress. As trusting children,
we must be open to the ideas and opportunities
that the Father provides to meet our needs.
The more we come to understand this, the
more we can sing with Luke, "Fear
not, little flock; for it is your Father's
good pleasure to give you the kingdom."