Worry is like a rocking chair…”It will give you something to do, but won’t get you anywhere.” Worry is like a disease that infects everyone yet no one seeks a cure. Worry is considered a legitimate past time, almost an honor, but worry is still a sin: a dangerous sin that can ruin our physical and spiritual vitality and drain our lives of joy. Yet, knowing that, I still worry… a lot!
- I worry about my grown children.
- I worry if I’m being a good husband.
- I worry about my job and the churches I serve.
- I worry over my friends and family.
There is a story about a farmer meeting “Death” on the road. “Death said, “I’m going to kill ten thousand people tomorrow.” Recoiling at the horror, the farmer decided to spend the rest of the day warning everyone about the coming catastrophe. That night as death passed by again, the frustrated farmer said, “You were going to kill ten thousand people, yet seventy thousand died.” Death replied, “I killed only ten thousand. Worry killed the others!”
Can we really stop worrying? Probably not but we can learn to replace worry with trust.
We can start learning about “trust” from the book of Proverbs. Imagine a wise parent giving advice to their teenager and you begin to understand the message of this wonderful book. At one point, the parent says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.” (3:5-6)
There are three commands and a promise:
If you learn to… Trust in the Lord with all your heart?
If you practice… Do not depend on your own understanding?
If you are careful to… Seek his will in all you do?
Then, God’s promise is to… direct your paths.
Trust is God’s antidote for worry. The more we trust… the less we worry but how? Stop depending on yourself and seek God’s will. You do that by spending more time on your knees in prayer. A friend suggested: “Larry, rather than worry all night, wouldn’t it be smarter to pray half the night and then sleep comfortably until morning?” Sound advice.
- Replacing worry with trust enables me to pray for my children but allow them to be grown up.
- Replacing worry with trust gives me the ability to enjoy and appreciate my wife.
- Replacing worry with trust permits me to work hard and leave the results to God.
- Replacing worry with trust helps me relax and truly value my friends and family.
During a routine visit with an elderly member of the church, a minister noticed an empty chair was always by his bed and asked about it. The old man replied, “As a child, I had a difficult time learning to pray. A pastor suggested that I place a chair in front of me and picture Jesus Christ sitting with me as a friend. What would I say to Jesus? That chair has helped me ever since.”
A few days later, the daughter called to tell the pastor that the old man was dead. “I was only out of the room for a minute. When I returned, he was gone. There was no change in him except I noticed that his hand was resting on the chair… the empty chair.”
It’s been said that ulcers are caused not by what you eat, but by what is eating you! Are you being eaten alive by worries? Maybe you need to replace your rocking chair of human worries with an empty chair of heavenly trust. All it takes is a commitment to pray. Let’s face it: It beats staying up all night.