Worry: The Cause, The Cost, And The Cure

Life is so full of uncertainties. Wouldn’t it be great if there were at least a few things we could count on? Some constants to give us a reliable foundation for the beginning of each new day? Well, Jesus assures us there are. Unfortunately, not all of them are good:

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

Haven’t you found that to be true? In my sixty odd years of living, I’ve yet to come across a day that didn’t have MORE than enough trouble in it to keep me well occupied. Even on the best of days, little nagging things will go wrong.

And our response to those troubles is equally consistent. We worry. And we are so terribly good at it. I’m reminded of English class and how we used to conjugate all the various forms of a verb. Well worry is a verb and we’ve leaned to worry in a way that has all the verb forms covered: Past, present and future tenses; singular and plural; first, second and third person; we do them all. And no matter what form our worrying takes, it is so insidiously destructive. Literally billions of dollars are spent every year treating the physical and emotional damage we do to ourselves through our worrying. The list of ailments being attributed to worry, including some forms of cancer and heart disease, grows daily. Despite this growing evidence against worrying and the clear instructions of our Savior to avoid it, we continue to make it one of our constant companions of every day.

In His instructions against worry (Matthew 6:25-34), Jesus tells us to look at the evidence of the Father’s faithfulness in the world around us. Birds that don’t plant or harvest, but are fed. Grass that does not labor or spin but is clothed in splendid beauty. Then Jesus asks us this simple but awesome question, “Are you not much more valuable than they?”

If we are truly Christians, then our answer to that question has to be “yes.” As Christians, we believe that God set a value on us so high that He sent His only Son into the world to teach us about Himself and then allowed His Son to be sacrificed on a cross at Calvary to save us from our sins. And if we believe that God values us so highly, how can we doubt that He will provide for ALL our needs? But worry is exactly that – doubt.

When I read the Bible, I am constantly amazed by God’s patience with us and the way Jesus reflected that patience. At the moment Jesus is speaking in Matthew, Chapter 6, He has already given up everything that was His in heaven and descended to earth where He has been experiencing all the suffering that afflicts us in this physical world. He knows that a cross awaits Him in the not too distant future, where He will pay the ultimate and excruciatingly painful price for our sins. Despite all that He has said and done, He continues to be confronted by our unbelief; our inability or unwillingness to see the evidence of the Father that surrounds us daily. It would have been so easy, so understandable, for Him to get mad at us for our failings. But instead, He chooses to remind us of our value. And encourage us with these words, ”

. . . 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.

Yes, troubles confront us every day, just as Jesus said they would. But worrying about those troubles wasn’t the foundation upon which God intended for us to build our days. FAITH in Him was.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does . . . the earth is full of his unfailing love.” Psalm 33:4-5

I am, as always, a work in progress, sheltered under His wings and overwhelmed by His love,

Steve

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