“It is distrust of God to be troubled about what is to come; impatience against God to be troubled with what is present; and anger at God to be troubled for what is past.” (Simon Patrick 1625–1707)
There is an organisation established by a professor of psychology to study the whole question of worry and to research ways by which worriers can be helped. It discovered some interesting facts. For instance, 15 percent of people researched spend half their waking hours worrying; and a large number of respondents eighteen years of age and over suffer from anxiety disorders. And women worry more than men. By the way, the definition of a worrier is someone who worries more than ninety minutes a day. All of us worry at some time and some people worry all the time. We worry about many personal things – health, the family, work, money – and we worry about major things like unemployment, the Pandemic and the environment.
There was the poster that said, ‘Don’t worry, it may never happen’, and across it someone had scrawled, ‘It already has. What do I do now’?
Quite often we worry about things that may never happen, or look at tasks that on first sight may seem impossible. Thomas Edison, a genius among inventors, once said that the only difference between the difficult and the impossible is that the impossible takes a little longer. The greatest handicap that many of us have is a sort of defeatism. Sometimes, when we hear of what difficulties have befallen others, we assume that it is going to happen to us. But it rarely does. No person knows what they can do until they do it. I know of people who worry themselves sick – literally. In that frame of mind things can go wrong and frequently do.
I have had my share of worrying over the past few days, so much so that I ended up in hospital. I was planning to move to a new retirement village later this month and for a while financial arrangements went pear-shape, then my heart caused some concern. My daughter reminded me of Matthew 11, verses 28-30 and the positive interpretation by Dr. Jim Denison entitled “The one path to true rest for weary souls”. So much for worry! A distrust of God? The outcome, after prayer, is that for health reasons I will not be moving.
Of course there are real problems, difficulties and heartaches, and it is then that we need a friend. Not someone who will cause our troubles to evaporate – life isn’t like that. We need someone who will listen and understand. We must remember that worrying is choosing not to trust God. Anger and worry are two very destructive emotions. They reveal a lack of faith that God loves us and is in control. We should not worry; instead, we should trust in God, giving yourself to him for his use and safekeeping. When you dwell on your problems, you will become anxious and angry. But if you concentrate on God and his goodness, you will find peace. We cannot remove worry until we replace it with something better – prayer.
The best friend that any of us can have is Jesus. He knows all about life – He has been there and done that. And we can talk to Him any time. The Apostle Peter gave us some good advice. He said, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (Philippians 4:9) I know it sounds just too easy, but it does work. Try it.
Worry is like an exercise bike. It gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere. Have a good week, Pastor
Optional Bible readings: Matthew 6:25-34 and 11:28-30 and Philippians 4:4-9
This is one of a series of weekly messages of encouragement, now in its twenty-sixth year, originating from Gympie, Fraser Coast, Queensland, Australia. A companion Bible study page is available each week. To subscribe via email send to [email protected] with the words ‘Subscribe Word (or) Subscribe Word & Study’. Our ministry is free and emailing lists are confidential. Tell a friend or why not put a note in your church newsletter or pew sheet about this ministry – we welcome new subscriptions.Pastor Ron Clarke OAMWord for the WeekMbl.: +61 488 424 321