Walking In Wisdom: Worrying, or Laughing?
As we get older, decisions become more important, more regular, and more sizeable. Questions about our future and what we'll do next seem to arise more often. What happens when we let go of everything we want, and truly give it all to God? Emma finishes the Walking In Wisdom series by looking the value of laughing without fear, and having absolute certainty in God. Enjoy! N x
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. (Proverbs 31:25)
When I sit down with my Bible, verses often jump out at me. Some verses encourage me, some challenge me and some feel like God speaking directly to the cries of my heart. This verse, when I first read it, didn’t do any of those things. It bothered me.
The Proverbs 31 lady is a busy bee. I love her purposefulness and kindness and aspire to her work ethic. But until recently I just couldn’t get my head around her attitude towards the future. She “can laugh at the days to come.”
I imagine this laugh as the overflow of her joyful, peaceful heart. Like the happy anticipation of a little child on Christmas Eve or the night before their birthday – they are assured of good things coming their way.
As we get older the future often starts feeling bigger and scarier. We have to make decisions that will have a lasting impact. We are hit with change we are not ready for. We learn that sometimes it only takes a moment for everything to fall apart. The future no longer feels secure. It feels like an uncertain wasteland with bad things waiting to jump out at you. Fear rules. Laughter feels inappropriate.
Over three hundred times in the Bible God commands His people, “Do not be afraid.”
And He goes on to tell them why they shouldn’t be afraid. One of my favourites is Psalm 23. David knew that God was leading him, guiding him and comforting him even in the darkest times. His life had been far from easy but still he was joyful and optimistic about the future.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life. (Psalm 23:6)
When I was 18, I knew that God wanted to lead me in this way. On the night before I got my A-Level results I was drowning in my fear of the future. It was then that four words came into my mind. I had heard them thousands of times before. They are in the Lord’s Prayer and Jesus prayed them in the Garden of Gethsemane before he was crucified: Your will be done.
For me, desperate for control over my circumstances, it was a hard prayer to pray. I knew I was essentially giving God permission to do whatever He wanted in my life and that felt very risky. What if university wasn’t part of His plan? What if it was but I hated every minute of it?
I got into my top choice university. But that only opened up a whole new box of uncertainty about the future. I was hopeful but I was definitely worrying rather than laughing. And yet something had changed. I had, after all, given God permission to do whatever He wanted in my life.
It turns out what He wanted was to be closer to me. He wanted to speak His truth over the lies I believed about myself. He wanted to help me grow my roots deep down into Him and His promises so that when the storms came I could stand steady and strong.
Recently some things have been happening. Things that make my future feel uncertain in a whole new way. But I am no longer overcome by fear. I know the God that holds my life in His hands. I talk to Him, argue with Him and thank Him for His mercy and goodness to me every day. Above all I trust Him. Even when I don’t understand.
I think the Proverbs 31 lady probably started out like me, like you – daunted by the uncertainty of the future. And then I think she started living her life every day with God and for God. Surrendering and trusting everything to the one that loved her with an everlasting love.
I think she learned by experience how trustworthy her God was and how secure she was as His child. That was why she could “laugh at the days to come.”
How do I know? Because today I feel something of her peace and her joy. Today I can think of the days to come and smile.
Emma is a graduate of the University of Leeds. She lives in Bolton with her family and works in a nursery teaching three and four-year-olds. She loves books, trees and her pesky dog Esther.