I don't remember worrying a lot growing up. My dad had a job so I never worried about the next meal or if our house would foreclose. I didn't even know someone's home could be foreclosed on. I didn't worry about the danger of riding my bike without a helmet on. Or riding miles away from home as it got dark. As I got older I didn't worry about whether I would get into the right college. Once in college, I didn't worry about what my major would be. When the college registrar wouldn't allow me to pick my classes for my junior year without declaring a major I simply asked what I had the most hours in. That, then, became my major. And finally, as I graduated from college, I didn't really have to worry about a job. I had one lined up to start a week after I got my diploma.
It probably wasn't until after I was married that worry started creeping in. When we had to open a retirement plan. I was barely 25 and we were trying to make a decision that wouldn't really affect us for another 40 years. After that worry crept in more and more. What would I do when I got a little older and youth ministry wasn't my thing anymore? After Toby was born and Jen quit her job to stay at home with him, worry broke through more of my defenses. Thoughts of how we would afford diapers and Christmas on a youth pastor's salary. How would we save for college? What if he didn't get into college? All the things I never worried about as a child, I now spent countless hours fretting over.
Then at the end of 2004, when I lost my job, worry and anxiety broke the dam and sent me sputtering. Thoughts of college were drowned out over the immediate worry of finding a new job. A new career path. How would we make the next house payment? By then, I knew that foreclosure was a real thing. And even though we've survived that trying time, worry never left me. Ever since then I've been on high alert. My threat level just seems to stay at "red." Always waiting for the next thing to drop.
So when two different people sent me this image last week, I couldn't stop staring at it. The photo shows a man, sitting at his local Starbucks, reading the newspaper and enjoying his coffee, while a typhoon is raging outside. Water has flooded the building he's in. Surely he can feel the water around his ankles. Surely he can hear the sound of rushing water where there should be none. Isn't he worried that his home is flooded? Isn't he concerned that he's the only one sitting there during this storm? Maybe.
Or maybe this is the 2016 equivalent of Jesus falling asleep in the back of a boat while a storm roars all around. A storm that had his disciples freaked out. Luke 8 tells us, "A terrific storm came up suddenly on the lake. Water poured in, and they were about to capsize." And while this was happening, Jesus was calmly sleeping in the back of the boat. While this was happening, Jesus was calmly reading his paper at Starbucks.
As I start this blog back up, I'm already consumed by worry. If people will read it. If people will resonate with it or be turned off by it. If people will like the new website. If people will think my designs are amateurish.
If I would just look up and see the old man reading his paper. I'm sure if I walked in on him that day he would have invited me to sit for a few minutes. What would it hurt? Worrying about it won't make the typhoon stop. Maybe he was just giving the typhoon the attention he thought it deserved. It's quite the opposite from the attention I give my own typhoons. The typhoon of anxiety. The typhoon of career. The typhoon of parenthood. The typhoon of success. The typhoon of this election. The typhoon of the future. Maybe, just maybe, God would love for me to grab a Venti Peppermint Mocha, a newspaper and a chair and give the typhoon the attention it deserves. Let my feet dangle in the waters and know that the one asleep in the back of the boat is still in charge.