Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Message in a Volvo Plant

I've been pretty shaken over the impending failure of GM and most of the auto industry. Of course, the consequences for our nation and even the world would likely be catastrophic. But I have a more selfish reason for concern. I have a friend whose husband works at GM. And Bill and I work for a company that serves the auto industry. If the industry should collapse, there's a very real possibility that both of us could be out of work in the near future.

Now I have a vague understanding of how all these economic problems came to roost in our country. I know that we have been greedy and irresponsible with credit. I know that some would say we are getting what we deserve. I also know that maybe our country needs to go through this calamity to help us remember what is really important in life--and to turn us to God, who has all the answers.

I know all this, and it sounds good in the hypothetical. But that doesn't mean I feel good about the prospect of personally suffering hardship. So I've been doing what I always do in situations like this: I've been worrying myself silly. But I've also been doing some praying, which is a good thing.

Last night, I fell asleep praying, and I woke up praying this morning. The first thing that came to my mind this morning was an experience I had when I was newly pregnant with Allyson. While I was on a work trip in Virginia, I was worried about all kinds of things: whether I could afford to stay home with my baby, how we would survive, whether I'd have a healthy baby, how a baby would affect our marriage, etc.

The following is an excerpt from my journal in 2005, but I think the message applies even more today....

Monday, October 17, 2005
The best thing happened at the Volvo heavy truck plant. We had a fascinating tour, and my mouth was agape at the giant "dinosaur" robots, the automated cab retrieval system, etc. I walked slowly, turning to look in all directions.

I was walking down a hallway with Angela, and we were lagging behind the group. I suddenly turned on my heel when I spotted a piece of paper on the side of a red tool bin. I wanted to read it.

Surprisingly, it was a notebook paper full of Bible verses on worry. The verses were hand written in the King James Version, which reminded me of my childhood. The first was, "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?"

Angela and I read all the verses. I tried to remember the scripture reference, but all I could remember was "Matthew...26." I later read all of Matthew 26 and then all the 26th verses in Matthew until I found the passage:

Matthew 6:25-34
25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[a]?

28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 6:27 Or single cubit to his height
I was so amazed to find those verses in a factory. Who wrote them? Was it a person like me, a person who struggles with worry? Did that person have any idea that those carefully copied verses would minister to a stranger?

The passage was just what I needed. I had been doing a lot of worrying about the future, wondering how long I'll stay home with the baby, and how much I'll get done before I go on leave.

I feel much more at peace now. I know God has a plan for me, and I can trust him to take care of me and my family.

Thank you for that unexpected message, Lord! Please plant it in my heart, and let your Word change me. Please bless the person who copied those verses.

Three Years Later
These scriptures bring such comfort to me today. Just reading them isn't enough. I need to meditate on them and PRAY them until the reality of those promises takes root. And I need God to change my heart to help me seek his kingdom first instead of worrying about my own little kingdom.

I think I've just found my next memory passage.

2 comments:

Kristi said...

Long live the memory passage! :)

Melissa Irwin said...

I am a worrier too. I love these verses and have relied on them for a long time to bring me comfort.

I love that the Almighty sent you a message in a Volvo plant. Isn't He everywhere?

love to you today

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