What the Gospel Says to a Mom’s Worry

Image by  Kelli Cooper

Image by Kelli Cooper

One of my kids is a sleepwalker.

When he was young, his sleepwalking was mostly a mild inconvenience: I’d wake up in the middle of the night to find him standing next to my bed mumbling incoherently. As he got older though, his sleepwalking has brought him into some worrisome situations: the hotel lobby while on vacation and the parking lot of a retreat center on a school trip. 

As his mom, I worry about him and for good reason. He could get injured or hurt while wandering in his sleep. He could get lost—or worse. 

Mothers worry about little things and big things.

All moms worry about their children to some degree or another. We worry about little things and big things. We may worry about our children’s growth and development. Are they eating right? Getting enough sleep? Growing at the right rate? Maybe we worry about their education. Are they being challenged enough? Being provided what they need to succeed? Should they be evaluated or tested for a learning difficulty or not? There are times when we worry about our children’s friendships. Are they having trouble making friends? Are their friends a good influence? Should we discourage their friendships? And then there’s the big things like health, safety, sin, and their spiritual walk with the Lord. 

With all the things we could worry about, we’d have little time to do anything else!

Worry is a consequence of life in a fallen world. Bad things happen. Ever since Adam and Eve fell into sin, the world has been a dark and scary place. We see it on the news every day. The effect of sin has impacted all things—from the creation to the human heart. There are legitimate dangers out there, and we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t have worry or concern for our children. We love them and want the best for them.

Worry can consume mothers.

But worry can become a problem when it consumes us, when it gnaws at us night and day, when it keeps our minds focused on all the things that could happen, rather than on God who rules over all things. That’s why Paul in Philippians says,

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Phil. 4:6)

He’s talking in this passage about chronic, habitual worry. The kind of worry that becomes a way of life, where our minds automatically focus on all the things that could go wrong and how we can control and prevent it. You know what that’s like, right? It’s like when I find myself up in the middle of the night thinking about my son’s upcoming camping trip and what might happen if he wanders off in his sleep and what I can do to control the situation. (Perhaps I ought to cancel all trips away from home or get an identity chip inserted in his arm!)

What we need as worried moms is the hope of the gospel.

Jesus knows about our worries and cares.

The gospel has a lot to say to the worries of life. After all, that is why Jesus came. He came to redeem and restore all that was broken in the fall. He came to rescue us from our sin and to bring us back into right relationship with God. He did so by entering this fallen world as a human baby. He united himself to us in our humanity by taking on human flesh. He experienced all that we experience in this life—the fears, sorrows, heartaches, and temptations—yet never sinned.

Jesus lived the perfect life we could not live, trusting and obeying God in all things. He then took on the punishment we were due for our sin. He faced our greatest fear for us and conquered sin and death. He then rose from the grave and ascended into heaven where he continues to intercede for us. One day Christ will return and make all things new. Sin and sorrow will be no more. And we will live with him forever in eternity—forever free from worry.

Mothers can find hope and help at the throne of grace.

The good news of who Jesus is and what he came to do tells us that Jesus knows about our worries and cares. He knows what it’s like to live in a fallen world. He knows all the things that keep us awake at night. He is a compassionate Savior. And because of what he has done for us, we can come to the throne of grace and find the hope and help we need. Through his death, the curtain barring our way to God has been torn in two. As it says in Hebrews:

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 4:16)

That’s why Paul tells us in Philippians not to be anxious. Instead, we are to bring all our cares to God in prayer, wrapped in thanksgiving. Consider what this means: As we pray about our worries, we give thanks to God for who he is and all he’s done for us. In dwelling on God’s character and his goodness to us in Christ, we are reminded that he is a good Father.

We are reminded that God is in sovereign control of all things, including the worries that keep us up at night. Above all, we are reminded that because he met our greatest need in Christ, how can he not meet us in our need today? (Rom. 8:32). Paul then tells us what will happen as we bring our cares to God in prayer:

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:7)

God gives his children peace in the midst of their worries.

God may not remove the situations and circumstances that bring us worry. But he will give us peace in the midst of those worries. It’s a peace that doesn’t make sense to the world. It’s a peace beyond human understanding. It’s a gospel-saturated peace that only comes from knowing God and being known by him. As Matthew Henry notes on this passage:

The peace of God, that is, the comfortable sense of our reconciliation to God and interest in his favour, and the hope of the heavenly blessedness, and enjoyment of God hereafter, which passeth all understanding, is a great good than can be sufficiently valued or duly expressed…. This peace will keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus; it will keep us from sinning under our troubles, and from sinking under them; keep us calm and sedate, without discomposure of passion, and with inward satisfaction. [1]

Dear friend, are you worried about your children? Turn to the Lord in prayer and bring your worries to the throne of grace. Receive the very peace of God.

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[1] Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1991), 2328.

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