By Arch Hoercher
Worry. For such a little word, it carries with it a whole lot of baggage. Webster defines worry as “mental distress or agitation resulting from concern usually for something impending or anticipated.” Worry has also been defined as “a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems.” Worry can affect one’s health. It can literally make you sick. Worry will steal one’s joy and happiness. It can contribute to depression and increase one’s level of stress. Worry can increase your blood pressure, cause one to gain weight or lose weight, and can affect one’s behavior and mood.
The problem with worry is that we all do it. We worry about our kids, our families, and our relationships. We worry about our health, our jobs, and our financial situations. We worry about what is going on in government, taxes, and the condition of the world. We worry about what clothes to wear or what other people think about the clothes that we are wearing. We worry about what we are going to have for lunch today. We worry, some of us worry about something or someone all the time. One thing I do know for sure is that non-Christians (unbelievers) have a reason to worry. Christians (believers) have no real reason to worry about anything, even though many of us still do.
The world will try to compensate or forget about their worries with alcohol, drugs, parties, travel, wealth, and possessions. But what happens, is that they start to worry about the things they are using to placate their worry to begin with. The world has no real or permanent cure for worry. The Christian, on the other hand, in reality has no reason to worry about anything. Jesus spoke directly about worry in Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV); “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you – you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Jesus is basically saying to trust in Him and leave worry behind youWorry cannot change anything for the better.
It is a hard task to stop worrying. Many of us believe that we trust God, but we still worry. God gives us joy, but worry will sap our joy away from us. God wants us to be full of joy. He does not want us wasting our energy and time with worry. We are to trust Him. He wants to hear about our needs through prayer, not through fretting or worry.
How can one eliminate worry from one’s life? The answer is an easy one, trust in God. The answer is easy, but actually doing it is not so easy. We can look to the Old Testament book of Joshua to get some hint of what we should do to trust in God’s provision. It was finally time for the Israelites to go into the Promise Land. The first thing they had to do was cross the swollen Jordan River. God stopped the flow of the river upstream and the Israelites crossed over to the other side of the Jordan River. Twelve stones were taken from the river and a memorial was made of these 12 stones. The memorial was made so that future generations could be reminded of what God did for them to get them where they are (Joshua 4). It is of upmost importance to be reminded of what God has done for you in your life. God made the ultimate sacrifice of His Son on the Cross of Calvary. This action made it possible for any person to become a child of God. The first step in trusting God is to believe what He has done for us and what He has continued to do for us. We all have at least one example of His intervention in our lives or answered prayer. Remember these things. Remembering is the first step to trusting fully in God.
The second thing we must do is get right with God. The Israelites had to do the same. For one reason or another the covenant God made with Abraham to be a people set apart had been ignored or forgotten. The covenant stated that circumcision was to set their people apart and a member of the covenant made with Abraham. The people of Israel made this right with God before entering the promised land. The people were obedient to the Law as given to Abraham. So what does circumcision have to do with me trusting God. We, like the Israelites, must get right with God. We must confess our sin and work to keep God’s laws in our lives. The more obedient we become, the more we trust. The more we trust, the closer we get to God and find His joy. The more of His joy we enter into the less we will worry.
The third thing we must do is to petition God for our needs and concerns. We must pray and trust in our prayers and petitions to God. Paul said it very well in Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV); “Do not be anxious (worry) about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Your hearts and mind will be guarded in Jesus Christ from worry. He does not want us to worry about anything.
How do we stop worrying about every little thing and every big thing that comes up in our lives? We must trust in God. The more we can trust God the less worry we will carry. The less worry we carry the more room there is for God’s joy. The more of the joy of God that fills our hearts, the more we will trust in God and the more we trust in God the less worry we will carry and so on and so on.
What? Me worry!? Yes, I still worry about some things, but I am working at eliminating more worry from my life each day and trusting God more. I am a work in progress. Where are you at in this journey?