Be Anxious in Nothing
- Friday, August 19, 2005
Sitting around waiting to have a baby… for my wife to have a baby. It’s our second child, first girl. We know this because modern technology can show us amazing things that so few have ever gotten to experience. Then again, modern medicine is still so unspecific that I’m stuck here without any semblance of a straight story on exactly when I can expect to embrace this little girl.
Val’s doctor says Lauren is due on the 20th, Valerie’s own calculations show the 23rd, the way she’s been feeling and acting would lead me to believe the child is going to pop out post-haste, while her most recent examination pinpointed the arrival time to, oh, sometime between two days ago and the end of the month.
Just as long as it’s not the 27th. My father passed away four years ago on that date and that would just be too weird.
If I sound anxious it’s because I am. Val and her girlfriends think it makes me cute… “or neurotic; you just don’t get it!” she sighs.
Hmmm. She’s usually right about these things. Like when our son was an infant and I had the idea to get out the ice cream machine and see what I could concoct from the freshly-pumped milk in our freezer. We’re humans, after all, not cows. Exactly why, Valerie said, she refused to be treated like one.
Hmmm. So I see I can be wrong about things to do with babies and birth and other b-words. This quest to know the exact minute daddy-daughter time begins is beyond my knowledge and control. I decide that maybe being anxious is unfounded.
A quick flip through the memory verses in my brain confirms my suspicion – yep – there it is, Philippians 4:6: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Don’t be anxious… not even for this? Doesn’t pending parenthood count? Apparently not, although there does seem to be one exception: “If you are willing to suffer for Christ, you have decided to stop sinning. And you won't spend the rest of your life chasing after evil desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God (1 Peter 4:1-2).
Sometimes being “anxious” is just a common grammatical mistake. We actually mean eager, at least according to the College English instructor I had my senior year of high school. “Anxious” implies a state of anxiety, worry, impatience, so it’s probably not what we really mean when we say, “I’m anxious for football season to start.” We’re actually more excited, anticipatory, eager. So that kind of anxious isn’t really what Peter and Paul are getting at here.
The King James version of Philippians 4:6 uses the word “careful.” “Be careful for nothing.” Well now, given our current understanding, that sounds rather irresponsible. But the Greek root word “merimnao” used there appears 17 times in the New Testament. Its meanings include:
- To be troubled with cares
- To be anxious
- To seek to promote one’s interests
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