I used to worry a lot. Given the dysfunction of my family there was a lot to worry about, such as would we have a place to live today? Would we eat tonight? Would there be electricity when I get home from school? Did the cops come pick up dad and haul him off to jail today? I became very good at worrying and living by that old motto “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.”
But like all things in our lives, worry can become a habit – something you do because it’s what you always do even when there is nothing to worry about. Do you know people who wouldn’t know what to do with themselves if they didn’t have something to worry about? I used to be that guy – used to.
During my “therapy” sessions with Jesus this was an area in my life that He wanted me to correct. You see worry can become poison in your system. Worry supports and emboldens your sense of insecurity and that insecurity affects your relationship with God, your relationship with other people, your worldview, and even how you view yourself. And importantly insecurity is a place in your life where the devil can get a foothold and really mess with you.
Jesus led me to some truth we all need to live.
25 “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? 26 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? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 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? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
I like verse 27: Can you add a single hour to your life by worrying? Of course not. But let me ask another question: Has worrying about something ever made an impact on what you were worried about? I doubt it.
So why do we worry? Well verse 30 says it: You of little faith. We simply do not first rely on God and second believe that God will see us through whatever it is we are worried about. When we are concerned about something our first reaction is to try to take the issue on ourselves in our own power and then engage our habit of worrying. What we must do instead is create a habit of turning to God first and then believing in God’s promises to us.
Now this is very important: God does not promise us everything will work out just the way we want it. There were days I came home to no electricity; a realtor lock on the door kicking us out of our home; no food to eat; and the cops coming and picking up my father. But what God does promise us is that He will take care of us or as scripture says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.
I used to believe I couldn’t trust God because of all the bad stuff that was happening around me. In fact, I thought that God was the cause of all this bad stuff and that I had to rely on myself to prove to God that I was worthy of bearing my crosses.
That was a very dumb, immature, and uneducated way of looking at God. God does not cause bad stuff to happen to us. If you think about it bad stuff happens in one of three ways:
- We make a bad decision and reap the consequences
- Someone else makes a bad decision and we suffer the consequences as innocent victims
- Nature is fallen so we can incur the consequences of that fall – cancer, tsunamis, birth defects, hurricanes, etc….
So what is there to worry about? Can worrying keep someone from making a bad choice and affecting you? Nope. Can worrying keep you from getting cancer? Nope. If we worried enough could we have stopped the floods that recently hit Colorado or the boat that sank killing hundreds outside of Africa? Nope. Worry does not produce fruit it only tears you up inside.
Here’s what we can do: when times are tough turn to God in prayer. Make your requests known to the only one who can actually do something about them! Tell God exactly what you want, but also ask Him to see you through whatever happens so that He can bring good into your life no matter the circumstances!
The Apostle Paul tells us to rejoice in all circumstances (Philippians 4:4, 1 Thessalonians 5:18) because our God will sustain us. I know this to be true. The electricity was turned off but we had candles. There was no food but within a day or two we found something to eat. We were kicked out of our home but someone always took us in. And yes, my father went to jail for his crimes, yet the children were provided for. Did it always work out the way I wanted it to? Nope, but it always worked out the way God planned it.
Bobby McFerrin told us “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” He might have been on to something!