More wisdom from my dear friend and colleague…
Dr. Ken Chant
Little Miss Muffet
A study on trusting God
Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey;
There came a big spider,
Who sat down beside her,
Miss Muffet away.
During the last century that famous nursery rhyme was published more often any other. It’s origins go back to the 17th century, although it’s meaning is unknown. Some claim that it refers to Mary, Queen of Scots (1543-87), who was said to have been frightened by the stern religious reformer, John Knox (1510-72). Whether or not that is true, the rhyme certainly belongs to a cluster that have a common theme – the fears that may suddenly beset us without warning.
THE FEAR OF SICKNESS
Swine flu season has arrived again and is scaring us all! Yet on average, in Australia alone, 3000 people die every year from ordinary flu, yet there is no panic, let alone media headlines! Much of the panic that is being aroused is simply ridiculous, especially for a man or woman of faith. When disease threatens, the first thing we should do is hold fast to the promise of God ‒
You should not fear terrors of the night, nor arrows that fly during the day, nor plagues that roam the dark, nor epidemics that strike at noon. They will not come near you, even though a thousand may fall dead beside you or ten thousand at your right side. (Psalm 91:5-7)
Mark this, however, that promise is a general rule, not an absolute fact, as we learn from, say, James, who freely allows the sickness may strike even the most godly person ‒
If you are sick, call for the church leaders. Ask them to pray for you and anoint you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such prayers, offered in faith will save those who are sick, and the Lord will make them well again. (5:14-15)
Nonetheless, James reckons that God is willing to heal his own people, and that we have a right generally to expect good health and prosperity from the Lord.
So let us be done with exaggerated fears that cause us to fall over like Miss Muffet. I have noticed that illustrations of the nursery rhyme tend to show this folly. Google Images has dozens of them, and in almost all, the size of the spider is enormously enlarged. But was it really so big? Of course not! Miss Muffet could easily have beaned the insect with her spoon, and gone on merrily eating. But she allowed her fears to turn the spider into a huge monster, and so was driven to drop everything and run for her life!
We should never allow such fears to dominate us. Rather, let us, while availing ourselves of all possible medical help, banish every worry, set our hearts to trust the Lord, and expect from him a firm answer to prayer.
THE FEAR OF WORLD EVENTS
Jesus spoke about this ‒
Men’s hearts will fail them for fear, and for looking after those things that are coming upon the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. (From Luke 21:26 in the KJV)
Note that “heaven” is ouranos = the sky, which gave its name to Uranus, the 7th planet from the Sun, which in turn gave its name to “uranium”! I don’t mean that Jesus foresaw nuclear bombs, but the connection with our own time is still remarkable. At any rate, said Jesus, when the power of ouranos is threatening the earth, so that the world is “looking out” with terror, that is just the time that we should be “looking up”! ‒
But when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (vs. 28)
God is still sovereign. He has not lost control. The entire creation is moving irrevocably toward the return of Christ and the everlasting Kingdom of the Father. And in his hands we are safe.
THE FEAR OF FALLING SHORT
This is perhaps the most prevalent and most secret fear of many Christians ‒ “How can I be sure that I will not fail of heaven?”
First ‒ remember that you are God’s own child, and he does not easily abandon his blood-born, blood-bought children ‒
Because you are God’s children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into you, so that you may now cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ You are no longer slaves but God’s children, and since you are his children, God has also made you his heirs! (Gal 4:6-7)
Second ‒ you are filled with his Spirit . . . .
You haven’t received the spirit of slaves, which would take you back again into fear. Rather, you have received the Spirit of God’s adopted children, so that now you can shout, ‘Abba! Father!’ (Rom 8:15)
We Christians are doubly God’s children ‒ by birth, and by adoption, sealed by the Holy Spirit! So long as you refuse to abandon that identity you will be secure for ever, protected by the Father’s love, guided by his Spirit, and carried surely into Paradise!
Blessings to all until next time, Dr. Ken Chant