When we see it in Matthew 6:25-34 and Jesus tells us not to worry – about our lives, about what we will eat or drink, about what we will wear, about tomorrow – and then when we see it again in Philippians 4:6-7 where Paul encourages us to be anxious for nothing.
Do not worry.
Do not be anxious.
They are simply different English forms of the same Greek word – merimnao. A word that my Spirit Filled Life Bible notes tell me “suggests a preoccupation with things causing anxiety, stress and pressure.”
And I know I can’t be the only one.
I can’t be the only one who gets preoccupied and distracted. I can’t be the only one who feels the weighty pull of it all – the anxiety, the stress, the pressure of this life. With our hearts and our minds pulled in a thousand different directions at one time, is it any wonder we walk around feeling shredded?
Torn to pieces.
Never fully whole or okay.
And it’s the word that merimnao is derived from that really catches my attention. It is derived from the word merizo which means “to divide into parts.”
To divide into parts.
Recognition flickers at those words. That is me. That is me. I am all too often a woman found sitting in one place, body full present, but with a heart and mind dispersed everywhere and anywhere else. Pieces of me strewn across my long list of burdens and worries and what ifs. A painted on smile feeling like poor glue to hold together insides that are falling apart.
But this can’t be all I have to offer to my family – a wife and mom too distracted by worry to ever be fully present.
This can’t be all I have to offer to my friends – a halfway listening ear because, “Hey, I’ve got a lot on my own plate.”
This can’t be all that Jesus wants for me, for us – fractured lives never fully lived. Not when His Word says that He came to make us “whole and holy by His love” (Ephesians 1:4, The Message).
Whole and holy.
And I ask Him how. How can I be made whole and what can possibly hold this worry-shredded woman together?
And His answer is no surprise.
His powerful, God-breathed, world-framing Words.
“Everything’s falling apart on me, God;
put me together again with Your Word.” Psalm 119:107
Put me together again, God.
Sew all these pieces back together.
And I know this is starting to sound like some long lesson in Greek, but my heart is so moved by the revelation that can come from digging a bit deeper. Because the word for “framed” when God tells us in Hebrews 11:3 that the worlds were framed by God simply speaking, it is katartizo. And katartizo means “to arrange, set in order, equip, adjust, complete what is lacking, make fully ready, repair, prepare…It is used for the disciples mending their nets (Matt.4:21) and for restoring a fallen brother (Heb.13:21).”
And my heart latches on to HOPE.
The God who framed the world by His words can mend this woman with them too.
And not just His Word written out on the page, but the Word made flesh (John 1:1,14) – Jesus. He holds me together too. Because all things were made by Him and for Him and in Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:16,17).
He holds all things together. All things.
And I am pretty sure “all” includes me and you.
Jesus can hold us together.
And while we may feel like we are falling apart, like there is so much pulling on us that we aren’t going to come out of this life in one piece, that just isn’t truth. We are women (and men) who can be beautifully and powerfully held together by Jesus and His holy Word.
Over the past few months I have found myself turning to His Word more than ever before. Not because I am so holy, but because my heart has felt so holey. I have needed Him to hold me together, and it has been a precious gift to realize this –
The God who first knit me together in my mother’s womb?
He can knit me back together again and again.
Each and every day.
Whenever I need Him to.
He can knit you back together again too.
When worry threatens to tear us to shreds, when it has already torn us, we have to turn to His Word. We have to pick it up like needle and thread and weave it through our hearts and minds. We have to sew it into every fiber of our beings – living it, breathing it, clinging to it, walking it out. We have to allow it to hold us together – reminding us of the truth of how big our God is, how loving our God is, how faithful our God is, how able our God is.
We have nothing to fear.
We have nothing to worry about.
We don’t have to live life divided and distracted.
Because God says so.
Because His Word is truth and it will hold.
May we take Him at His Word – this God who gave His one and only Son for us. May we allow Him to hold us together – this Father who promises to never leave or forsake us. May we be able to approach each new day with hearts whole and at rest – trusting He loves us, He is for us, and He really is enough.
And may we remember to share with others the words He uses to mend us, to hold us together. We just never know when someone else might need the needle and thread we have been using. And we? We can become the mended menders.