Worry is like a rocking chair:”it will give you something to do, but get you nowhere.” Worry is like a disease: “it infects everyone yet no one seeks a cure.” Most people wear their worry like a badge of honor. But surrendering to worry is a sin dangerous enough to ruin our physical and spiritual vitality and drain our lives of hope and joy. Yet, knowing all that, I still worry, a lot! Don’t you?
Ø I worry about my grown children.
Ø I worry if I’m being a good husband.
Ø I worry about my job.
Ø I worry over my friends and family.
Ø I even worry about my faith. Isn’t that silly?
There is a story about a farmer meeting the death angel on the road. The angel 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. As the angel passed by again, the now frustrated farmer asked, “You were going to kill ten thousand people, yet more than seventy thousand died. Why?” The angel 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 learn about “trust” from the Bible starting with the book of Proverbs. Imagine a wise parent giving advice to a teenager and you begin to understand the message of this wonderful book. “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.
If worry is poison, trust is God’s antidote. The more we trust, the less we worry but how? Somehow, we stop depending on ourselves and learn to seek God’s will. We spend more time on our knees in prayer. A friend once told me: “Larry, rather than worry all night, wouldn’t it be smarter to pray half the night and then sleep comfortably until morning?” Sound advice.
Ø Replacing worry with trust enables me to pray for my children but allows them to grow up.
Ø Replacing worry with trust gives me the ability to enjoy and appreciate my wife.
Ø Replacing worry with trust permits me to work hard and leave the results to God.
Ø Replacing worry with trust helps me relax and truly value my friends and family.
Ø Replacing worry with trust strengthens my faith in the God who always loves me.
During a routine visit with an elderly member of the church, a minister noticed an empty chair by the bed and asked about it. The old man replied, “I had a difficult time learning to pray. A friend suggested I place an empty chair in front of me and picture Jesus Christ sitting and having a conversation with me like an old and trusted friend. That chair has been with me ever since.”
A few days later, the daughter called to tell the pastor that her father died. “I was only out of the room for a minute. When I returned, he was gone. He looked so peaceful. Then I noticed something odd about his hand. It 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.
When is the last time you had a conversation with Jesus? All it takes is a commitment to pray. Let’s face it: a little bit of prayer sure beats a lot of worry.