“What, Me Worry?”
I’m a kid of the MAD Magazine era, where their mascot, Alfred E. Newman, was famous for saying this line… “What, me worry?” Of course, in many cases, it was the punchline of the joke and it conveyed the he ought to have been worrying about the state of affairs around him. That, of course, was the sarcastic humor of the magazine that appealed to me during my pre-teen and early teenage years.
Sarcastic humor aside, the statement about not worrying has stuck with me over the years and is frankly quite Biblical for the Christian. Jesus says that we are not to be anxious because our Father in Heaven knows our needs and will provide them…instead of expending energy worrying about this, that, or the other thing, we should pursue building Christ’s kingdom with all our strength. God will make provision for us (Luke 12:22-24).
The implication here is that the only ones who really have a license to worry are unbelievers. These pagans bow down to gods that cannot answer prayers and cannot provide for their needs…they are deaf and dumb and motionless, the creation of the hands of men (Psalm 115:4-8).
The question that the Christian really needs to ask is, just how extensive God’s design is for his people. Is God in control of the big things that happen but leaves the small things in our own hands or does God sovereignly ordain all things that come to pass, both great and small. To this, Jesus takes one of the most insignificant things that can be mentioned and instructs his disciples that God cares for us so greatly that he even has numbered the hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30; Luke 12:7) and he goes as far as to assure the disciples that during times of persecution, not a hair on their head will perish apart from God’s design (Luke 21:18) — a promise that the Apostle Paul even extends to those on the ship with him prior to their shipwreck on Malta (Acts 27:34).
One of my professors in seminary used to say that not one hair fell from his head “without the parachute of providence,” and indeed, this is the idea that the Bible communicates to us. The Heidelberg Catechism words it this way: “He also preserves me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven…” In other words, if we take our Bible’s seriously, recognizing that we are in our Father’s divine hand, then ought we not say, with Alfred E. Newman, “What, me worry?” Our God not only ordains the end, but the means by which he brings about the end…and in that wonderful truth there is great hope because I, in my fallenness, will not confound the plans that God has for me…instead, God ordains and uses even my own sin and foibles to bring about his will and to conform me into the image of his Son. In a world where assurances are often fleeting, this is one iron-clad promise in which we can truly rest and hope.