As I read through Paul’s letters to Timothy, I detect some level of anxiety. It could be Paul’s since he gives various warnings and instructions as though Timothy were about to go off to his first year of college. It could be Timothy’s, as he strives to do ministry without his mentor, which is why Paul responds with sound wisdom and encouragement. Most likely it is an anxiety they share because of their common desire to be the Lord’s good and faithful servants who train themselves in godliness. And it is my anxiety as I prayerfully explore the Scriptures for a deeper understanding of hope and ask where my hope is to be set.
For to this end we toil and strive because we have our hope set on the living God,
who is the Savior of all people, especially those who believe.
~1Timothy . 4:10
I am convicted that to have my hope set anywhere else is simply idolatry. And idolatry leads to an anxious life of desiring what leads to destruction and striving to cover up or justify destructive consequences.
St Ignatius of Loyola, who wrote spiritual exercises that for centuries have trained God’s people in godliness, wrote about anxiety. In his following words are hints of what it means for you and I to have our trust properly placed in Jesus and to have our hope set on the living God.
Do what you can calmly and gently. Do not be disturbed about the rest, but leave to God’s providence what you cannot manage yourself. God is well pleased with the earnestness and moderate anxiety with which we attend to our obligations, but He is not pleased with that anxiety which afflicts the soul, because He wishes our limitations and weakness to seek the support of His strength and omnipotence, with the trust that in His goodness He will supply what is lacking to your weakness and shortcomings.
~from The Letters of St. Ignatius of Loyola, William J. Young, SJ
May you and I have our hope set on the living God as we attend to our obligations with a moderate amount of anxiety.