Practical Atheism

Sarah Granger // Tales From the Trenches


December 11  

I like to order my confessions from worst to least worst sins. (There are no “better” sins, right?) So a few years ago, I got through my more embarrassing shortcomings and then confessed what I considered to be a small thing: the renovations of our house were driving me crazy, and I feared it would all end in a loss of the house, my mind, and my ability to ever smile at someone who worked in a bank again. “I’m just so worried about all of it,” I finished.

The priest looked at me lovingly and said, “You realize that worry is practical atheism, right?” Wait, what?! I emphatically did not realize this and did not appreciate being accused of atheism. (I expected him to say something like, “That’s okay, the early saints sang as they were eaten by lions, but picking out floors—now that’s worth stressing over.”) He smiled at my shocked expression and continued, “Either you believe that God is good and that you can trust him, or you don’t.”

In the years that have passed, I have grown to treasure this truth.

Cast all your cares upon him because he cares for you” (1 Pet 5:7), God’s word reminds us. Of course, we all have temptations toward anxiety and worry. This is especially true of moms, I think. From the first diaper rash to the grad school application deadlines, we carry the needs of our families even more anxiously than our own. But we just can’t keep on doing that. We must cast those cares on Jesus because he cares for us and for our kids even more than we do. And although we, by worrying, cannot add “a single hour” to our life, he holds eternity in the palm of his hands.

So I must remind myself that God is good, and that I can trust him. I don’t want to be an atheist, practical or otherwise, so I have been learning the habit of casting my cares upon him as soon as they come to mind. Jesus, I trust in you!

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  • Sarah,
    thanks for sharing that truth spoken to you in the confessional. It might be the most life-changing truth of all… because it applies every minute of the day! Wow. I too want to trust completely- as His trustworthiness demands.

  • Sarah (as your sister) I have seen firsthand how you’ve cast your cares to the Lord. I’ve always admired your beautiful witness. Thank you for the reminder that God calls us to deeply trust in His plans above our own.

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