Worry

All too often we waste precious time worrying. We worry about what we should do in a specific situation; then we worry about what we DID do. We worry about our safety. We worry about our family’s safety. We worry about what will happen to our finances. We even worry about whether we will get a good parking place at the grocery store.

 

The Bible is full of wisdom about worrying. Most of it amounts to “don’t do it.” But if it was that easy, we wouldn’t keep doing so much of it.

 

Here’s probably the most well-known “don’t worry” passage in the Bible from Luke 24

 

22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!

 

And Jesus follows that up immediately with the bottom-line reason: because it simply doesn’t do any good.

 

25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

 

Even though we know it doesn’t help, we continue to stress about what we should do or what might (or might not) happen. What’s the real reason we do this? I think most of it comes down to fear. We are afraid we’ll make a mistake. We are afraid God is not really paying attention. We’re afraid because we think we ought to be in control. If we admit that, we can turn to some other passages that will shine a light on our fear.

 

In Isaiah 41:10 God reminds us that He is in control, He is with us, and most importantly, He will take care of us.

10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

Paul reminds us in 1st Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) that fear is not from God. Love drives out fear. If we want to stop worrying, replace that with questions like, who can I help? Who can I love? Who can I be a blessing to?

 

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

 

Finally, remember that we can react in two ways to life challenges. One is to be afraid or think of ways we can get out of the challenge. The other is to recognize the challenge, lean on God for strength (that’s critical!) and see the challenge as a growth opportunity. James 1:2 says:

 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

 

By the way, in case it was not intuitively obvious to everyone, this last “consider it pure joy” stage is really, really tough. Facing trials with joy instead of worry is not something you just wake up one morning able to do. It’s a muscle that must be exercised in increasingly difficult circumstances. But the effort pays off. And God is “spotting us.” He is with us, whether we feel Him or not. God loves us, whether we feel loving or not, and God has a pathway through to the other side whether we understand it or not. Praise be to God!

 

See you in Sunday School,

Hal