Have you ever wondered why we worry? Why do we so often offer the reassuring advice, “This really isn’t something you need to worry about.” Well, does that mean there are some things we should worry about?
Think about it:
- Worry pulls tomorrow’s clouds over today’s sunshine.
- Worry is wasting today’s time to clutter up tomorrow’s opportunities with yesterday’s troubles.
- God is an ever-present help in trouble; in worry you are on your own.
- Worry is a prayer to the wrong God.
- Worry is something we all do, even though our Lord specifically said: Do not worry!
- Worry is oftentimes confused with legitimate concern, which entirely appropriate.
- Sometimes worry masquerades as concern, duping no one but the worrier.
- Worry is like time spent in a rocking chair; it keeps you busy, but gets you nowhere.
- Or, perhaps you’ve read the following line in one of those “church bloopers” email that’s always making the rounds. It said: Don’t let worry kill you off – let the Church help.
- Note: If I knew where these came from I’d gladly give credit.
I do know where the following quality advice comes from.
The Apostle Paul’s inspired counsel in Philippians 4:6-8 reads as follows:
Do not be anxious 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. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (TNIV)
Jesus’ words spoken during His sermon preached on a mountainside resonate through the ages:
“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? 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.” –Matthew 6:25-34
Against the backdrop of these thoughts, Reinhold Niebuhr’s “Serenity Prayer” is itself an answer to prayer for those who are wrestling with the temptation to be worriers. Niebuhr writes:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
May God’s grace and peace be your companions this day!
© Bill Williams, a fellow sojourner