One of our favorite national pastimes, it seems, is worrying. Baseball season may be right around the corner, with its balls and strikes, home runs and shutouts, but it’s worry that occupies so much of our waking moments.
We worry about everything: We worry about the economy, the possibility of a new pandemic, the likelihood of war, the weather, the environment, and the direction our nation and the world are headed. We worry about whether we’ll have enough money to pay the bills this month, what we’ll do if we lose our job, what if that bothersome ache is more than just an ache, what those tests the doctor ordered will show. We worry when our new teenager driver is out driving. We worry about getting old – or older.
It wasn’t that long ago that we found ourselves worrying about shortages of toilet paper, eggs and other essentials. Some folks, it seems, even worry about whether the sun will come up tomorrow morning. And when we have nothing to worry about, we worry about that.
The “benefit” of worry is it gives us a sense that even when circumstances seem out of control, at least we’re doing something – worrying. But in reality it accomplishes little – if anything – other than to keep us in a state of anxiety and dis-ease.
Not only that, but as experts tell us, 90 percent of the things we worry about never happen. There have been times when I’ve looked at my schedule for the day and worried about how I would ever get everything done. As the day wore on, however, I would find that some items on my to-do list took less time than anticipated. One or two meetings were rescheduled. Suddenly I found myself with time on my hands – with nothing to worry about.
Have you ever stopped to consider how much mental and emotional energy are expended when we worry? It causes us to lose focus and be distracted. Self-induced stress can take a physical toll on our bodies and our health. Ah, something else to worry about, right?
As we read the Scriptures, we find many teachings with worry. Basically, we’re told, “Don’t do it!” One particularly strong verse is Philippians 4:6, which says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God.” The next verse tells us what will happen as a result: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
In other words, instead of harboring our worries inside, letting the stress eat at us, entrust those things we’re concerned about to God and entrust Him with it. That’s what faith is all about – believing that the Lord is fully able to deal with our troublesome issues, usually in ways far beyond anything we could have conceived. This is why 1 Peter 5:7 admonishes us, with great confidence, to “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
We could review many other passages, but there’s no better authority to consult than Jesus Christ, who addressed the troubles of His hearers in the Sermon on the Mount. He said:
“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 important than food, and the body more important 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? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?... See how the lilies 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” (Matthew 6:25-27).
Jesus gave other examples of God’s faithful provision and then concluded His exhortation, noting that many of our worries are focused on the unknowns of the future: “But seek first [God’s] 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” (Matthew 7:33-34).
Think about it: Good parents might not fulfill every want a child has, but they won’t fail to meet every need. Our heavenly Father knows about everything we need, every problem we will ever encounter. He’s a good Father – the very best Father. Because of that we can trust Him with our worries, and rest in Him.
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Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.