The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. -Exodus 14:14 (NIV)

Children have a way of asking you questions that force you to boil things down to their essence, and give a digestible answer. And when you give an boiled down answer to a child, you really have to think about how to accurately explain it. My son gave me just such a question the other day.

He was listening to Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy” (remember that from the ’80s?) and asked me, “Why do people worry?”

The old, unbelieving me would’ve given some very unhelpful and cynical answers, like :

  • “Grown-ups have real problems you don’t know about yet.”
  • “I don’t know.” (An answer which will only merit another “why?” anyway!)

But the new me had the new, better answer the old me would’ve never known: People worry because they want to control things they can’t control. If they remember that God is in control, then they wouldn’t worry.

When the Israelites had their backs against the wall at the Red Sea, and Pharaoh’s armies closing in on them, that would seem like a pretty reasonable time to be worried. But they’d already had repeated assurances that God would deliver them…and how He did, despite their lack of faith!

We don’t want unpleasantness or suffering in our lives, so if only we could control people and situations, then we think our lives would be better. But as believers, we can trust that God can and does put seemingly impassable–and impossible–barriers before us, so we have to rely on Him to overcome them. (We also need His help to discern when we suffer needlessly, or if we’re meant to endure godly suffering for His greater plans involving us which are still unfolding.)

I know that God is using me to teach my son and train him up, and my son to get back to basics about how God wants us to live. And the bottom line here is that we aren’t to worry, and we can be happiness rooted in His joy, because we never were in control, but He is–and there’s no one else better to be at the wheel.