Recently, I had the opportunity to share a devotional with our church’s widows and deaconesses at our spring luncheon. Although this is a slight revision, the following is basically the essence of my talk.
Pick one thing–only one thing–that you are worried about today. Hold onto it for these few minutes while I share this devotional.
Before I do that, I want to tell you about my sock drawer. I know no one else has had this experience. But, as I was trying to find a pair of black socks one Sunday, I discovered a pile of unmatched socks. They were all the same color, yet they had different textures, patterns, and lengths. It didn’t help that I was concerned about some church matters from the morning as I rifled through the disarrayed drawer. Then, my dear husband pointed out the soap dispensers were empty. I had already been informed the cat litter box needed cleaning. So, I did what most people do.
I made a disgruntled noise.
Then I filled the soap dispensers. Sometimes it is best to leave one’s untidy sock drawer and tend to the well-being of others.
After that, I cleaned the cat boxes. Sometimes it helps to deal with a more distasteful mess when faced with a pile of mismatched footwear.
As a result, I had clean cat boxes and clean hands. Priorities are beneficial to all concerned. I managed to find one clean, balled-up pair of socks and put them on.
Then, I did what most people do.
I made lunch. Sometimes we face problems better after we have eaten a meal.
After that, I once again did what most people do.
I read a book and took a nap. Sometimes momentary escape and rest allow us to become re-energized for a dreaded task.
After I woke up, I was still bothered by my morning and had completely forgotten about my sock drawer. So, I did what most people do.
I called my mother. Sometimes venting helps release our inner angst.
Then, I did what most people do.
I ate dinner. That’s about the time I decided I needed to do what I should have done in the first place.
I opened up my notebook and cued up my Kindle to one of my devotional readings. All the time, God knows exactly how to match up what is misplaced in my life.
My Psalm reading in Timothy Keller’s Songs of Jesus came from Psalm 37:1-6.
Do not fret because of evildoers,
Be not envious toward wrongdoers.
For they will wither quickly like the grass
And fade like the green herb.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday.
Keller continued with three points on how to match up anxiety with trust. I found these three points also matched up with my sock metaphor.
- Look forward: Do I have socks on my feet? Can I move on from the frustration of the moment to the next task?
- Look upward: Does it help to complain about my mismatched or missing socks? What am I trying to accomplish when I vent frustrations to people who can’t solve the problem? Isn’t it better to take my concerns to God first? Might I then see the solution or at least gain perspective about how to conquer the issue one piece at a time?
- Get busy: How can I delight in committing to sorting out and pairing up what I can and trusting God with the rest of the pile? I still had a messy sock drawer the next morning. This time I took time to sort out and pair up what I could. I was delighted to find five pairs! A hefty pile remained, but I had enough socks to get me through the week and for certain through laundry day.
As God often does, He provides the same message throughout my readings. Paul David Tripp’s reading in New Morning Mercies also reflected on the pairing of anxiety and trust.
He pointed out that there are two ways to view God’s sovereignty. One is God-forgetting, which leads to anxiety. The other is God-remembering that provides trust. Psalm 97 was the additional reading he suggested.
The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice;
Let the many islands be glad.
Clouds and thick darkness surround Him;
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
Fire goes before Him
And burns up His adversaries round about.
His lightnings lit up the world;
The earth saw and trembled.
The mountains melted like wax at the presence of the Lord,
At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
The heavens declare His righteousness,
And all the peoples have seen His glory.
Let all those be ashamed who serve graven images,
Who boast themselves of idols;
Worship Him, all you gods.
Zion heard this and was glad,
And the daughters of Judah have rejoiced
Because of Your judgments, O Lord.
For You are the Lord Most High over all the earth;
You are exalted far above all gods.
Remember that thing you were worried about? Have you matched it up with trust in God? The mismatched socks in my drawer are not anxiety socks. They are trust socks. I am trusting God knows exactly where my missing socks are.
Did you check to make sure every sock is yours? While I was searching my sock pile, I realized I had one of my son’s socks. Like mismatched socks, how many worries are misplaced ones that never belonged to me in the first place?
Have you ever tried to sort out another person’s sock drawer? Most mothers have, myself included. To the best of our ability, each of us needs to learn how to organize our own drawers. We may require some help at times. Yet, isn’t it true we all like our socks folded a certain way? As for my current sock-drawer dilemma, even my own mother couldn’t fix it. Those pairs simply are not there.
I think Paul David Tripp summarizes well the black pile of life’s socked-away worries.
This goes along with my life verse I have quoted since I was twelve-years-old.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Have socks? Move on!