Don’t sweat the small stuff says Wendy – and the big stuff is a big act of love! Trust in God; persevere in prayer; and let God’s love heal!
Often I remind myself not to sweat the small stuff, because in the light of eternity… it’s all small stuff—except for one thing. But before I get into what’s big, I want to explain why I can easily recite the small stuff mantra.
A few years ago, my only niece lost her life during a relapse in her recovery journey.
Her death rocked my world and broke my heart.
God, how could this happen after all the prayers I’ve prayed? Even my friends prayed for her.
Because I’d already experienced the sudden and tragic death of my dad, and had not reacted well to it (In fact, I snubbed God for a season.), I knew I didn’t want to learn the hard way—all over again—to trust God in the face of adversity. Snubbing God caused me extra suffering. So I chose, within minutes of hearing the bad about my niece, to trust in the goodness of God.
Lord, this whole things doesn’t make any sense. But I choose to trust You anyways.
And I allowed tears to flow and tenderize my heart rather than toxify it. I became more compassionate to my own children when they made mistakes. I didn’t sweat the small stuff as much as I had before the death of my niece.
My choice to trust in God helped soften my reactions to our own family’s tumultuous teenage years that arrived a few years later. When foolish choices were made, I didn’t panic, and I didn’t rescue. I allowed my teens to face the full consequences of their decisions. But I didn’t shame them either. I gave thanks to God that my teens had survived—that they were still alive to hug. I gave thanks they were not a pile of ashes filling up urns on our fireplace mantel.
Fussing over the small stuff would throw fuel on the fire that threatened to engulf the lives of my family members.
James 1:2 says:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”
Parenting teenagers developed my perseverance in prayer.
I kneel to pray instead of allowing the wheel of worry to ruin my day.
I haven’t quite got to the point of considering it all joy. Honestly, it would take a miracle for that to happen. But I do experience joy each time I pray certain lines of Scripture, such as Ephesians 3:20 which says:
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”
I latched onto this verse in the middle of the messiness I had to face during one of our family’s lowest points. For privacy reasons, I can’t share details. All I can say is that while my pillow soaked up tears, my soul soaked up God’s love for me and my family. He revealed His love to me by showing me there were other believers praying for our situation. He brought in reinforcements in unexpected ways. In the Jesus kind of at your level and in the trenches kind of way.
God rolled up His sleeves and stood beside me. He stood beside us.
And this is where I tell you about the big stuff that empowers us not to sweat the small stuff.
Ephesians 3:17-18 says:
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Parents, friends, family members are often tempted to sweat the small stuff because they’ve allowed fear to suffocate love. Divine love burns off the dross of fear and fans the embers of faith, hope, and joy.
Love swoops in to forgive sin and sweeps it as far away as forever is from today.
The small and big of it is that sin is only a smoker’s match compared to the torch of God’s love—His Son—whose holiness and offering of salvation outshine the brightest star in the universe.
My heart hurts when it witnesses the shame of sin. But to allow this hurt to fester with fear would only create a wound that oozes anger. Anger doesn’t heal anything. Love heals.
God Loves and Heals
For God so loved and healed the lost so they could fish for sinners. He didn’t save us so we could sweat the stuff of others. Jesus already paid for all sizes of sin when He performed the biggest act of love that ever was and ever will be demonstrated.
On the cross Jesus crossed all the “t’s” and satisfied the eye of God. It’s finished so we can be finished with legalism and ritualism as we point to the river of redeeming blood each one of us must cross before entering the Promised Land of found and forgiven.
The only thing that needs to be lost is the fear of small stuff. Sin’s been dealt with, and it’s our job to hand out the free get-out-of-condemnation-jail cards, because God’s Love is the big stuff we should be focused on.
I’ve been at the bottom, so I know God can draw others out of the deep too.
I’d like to close with a short poem I recently wrote.
“I used to sing the song of fools
Until I nearly lost my life
But love reached down and rescued me
And now I sing of Jesus Christ.”
Wendy L. Macdonald
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Images courtesy of:
Worried Woman – xusenru
Teenage Girl – bearded_earthling
Woman – Unsplash
Hug – AdinaVoicu
Mother Daughter – ParentRap