I was driving along in my SUV a few mornings ago, praying about everything going on in my life. To be completely honest, I was worrying as much as I was praying. At that moment the words of Psalm 23 came to my mind, “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me.” I thought about that phrase for a moment and, as I was reciting it in my mind for the third or fourth time. I heard the Holy Spirit ask, “Has that not been true for your entire life?” After a moment of reflection in which I came to the realization that, yes, in fact, goodness and mercy have accompanied me my entire life. Then the Holy Spirit followed up with a couple more questions. “Why do you assume that is going to change? Why can’t you assume that I will continue to bless you and provide for you just the way I always have. And why can’t you assume that when difficult times come that I will deliver you just as I always have, rather than worrying yourself over the challenges you are facing right now?”
I have to admit, I was taken back. I had fallen into the “what if” trap. I was operating as if God had completely abandoned me and I was on my own to figure everything out. I felt completely ridiculous. God has never failed me. In fact, God has always been faithful to guide me and shield me through every difficult situation I have ever faced. Why would he change his behavior now? Why would I ever assume that goodness and mercy would not continue to follow me?
I’m not completely sure how that happens, but I do know the antidote. It is the same strategy Jesus employed when he was faced with temptation. He simply quoted the Word of God. And so now, when I am tempted to worry, I simply breathe the words “goodness and mercy” reminding myself that God was faithful yesterday and he will be today and tomorrow as well.