“Which of you by taking thought (being anxious) can add one cubit to his stature?” Matthew 6:27 KJV
The idea in this verse has always puzzled me. It is a ridiculous notion that anyone can worry themselves taller. (Although, being a short person, it would be nice)! The rest of the reasons Jesus gives in this passage for not worrying, make more sense. But this idea of changing the actual height of your body, or adding years to your life as some translations word it, is outside the realm of our human experience. Amplified says, “And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure (cubit) to his stature or to the span of his life?” (The word translated “cubit” is used as a measurement of time, as well as a measurement of length). Then I thought, “isn’t that the whole idea?” It would be a miracle for us to just think ourselves better off – something no human can do. And a cubit is 18 inches, which would put a person head and shoulders above everyone else. Even if we could do it in the first place, it is just absurd. It’s human nature to want to look better and be more visible than the next person. We spend a lot of our energy (and money) trying to do just that. It motivates many of our actions.
Back to my original thought; we have the illusion that by turning a situation over and over in our minds we can actually change the outcome. Only God can change something in the natural through the supernatural = a miracle. Jesus points to the birds in Matthew 6 never growing hungry even though they do not sow or reap. The lilies look beautiful even though they are not dressed in expensive clothing. God does all that miraculously even though we do not notice it as such. Do we think we can do miracles on our own just by turning a situation over in our minds? Do we think we can take God’s place? Can we just bypass the way God does things? Just before this passage Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters.” Do we not serve the master of the world when we nervously think about some area of concern in our lives? It is like we are trying to step into God’s shoes. The notion that we could change our height says to me that we would like to alter what God created, and, in a way we think is good. When we worry over some matter, we are hard at work and not thinking or walking in grace, because we think our trying and working can actually do something only God can do.
Our thoughts run like this: “If God hasn’t answered, He must need my help.” When it seems like time has run out, that’s when I am tempted to make something happen on my own. I also end up feeling that God forgot something, (or forgot me) or, that my need has scared Him off. When I recall that God finished all His work on the seventh day, I realize God has not forgotten anything. We need not take His place and try to meet the need ourselves. We get anxious because underneath our pride, is a glaring realization of our own weakness. We aren’t strong, smart, or skilled enough and so our fragile selves become anxious. We know deep down we cannot make anything happen.
In Genesis 2:2 the Father rested on the seventh day because He was done with His work for us. Revelation 13:8 says that the “Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world.” On the cross Jesus said, “It is finished.” It is like this: there is a banquet table set in the house for you but you are outside urging your tomato plants to hurry up and grow because you are hungry. All the while you are outside anxiously watching your tomatoes, there is already a feast on the table inside. Therefore your anxiety about your tomatoes is wasted energy. Jesus is saying that the supply to your need is already made. God settled that when He rested on the seventh day. You cannot take the Lord’s place and make it happen yourself. We can’t bypass the cross and all the provision that is there. God already made it happen. You may not see it yet, but worrying will not make it visible. It is God’s job to make it visible. Jesus says, “I will provide all your needs. You cannot make it come about by worrying about it. Therefore, rest in My grace.”
Even taking thought is pretty descriptive. It’s like we are driving our thoughts down a road that leads nowhere. It’s a rather bumpy and exhausting road leading us away from God. Instead, let us leave the driving to God. He alone knows the road and is able to get us where we need to go. “Lord, help us believe that you see us. You already have our needs met. Help us to believe and think the truth and focus on You. May Your peace direct our every thought. Amen”