Let’s admit it: we are worriers. Therefore, for the past two Sundays, I’ve been preaching on worry and trust. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had a candid command about worry: STOP IT! “Do not worry,” Jesus said, meaning stop something you have been doing.
Sometimes our worries are ridiculous. For several years, a woman was having trouble getting to sleep at night because she just knew someone was going to break into her house and steal her fine china. She was scared to death. One evening, her husband did hear a noise, went downstairs and encountered an intruder. He said, “Good evening. I’m so pleased to meet you. Will you please come upstairs and meet my wife? She’s been wanting to meet you for years.”
Another man went to a psychiatrist with his worry problem. He said, “Every time I get into bed, I am convinced that there is somebody under my bed.”
The psychiatrist said, “I can help, but it will mean a session a week for a year, and the fee is $50 a session.”
The man never returned, so when the psychiatrist ran into the man at the mall, he asked why he never came back. The man explained a friend cured him.
“How did he do that?”
“He told me to cut the legs off my bed, and I did. Now whoever’s down there is flatter than a pancake.”
Most of our worries are out of our control. We worry about the unknown, the unexpected, the unexplainable, and the unavoidable. To paraphrase Gene Brown, we cross bridges before we come to them, which are over rivers that aren’t there.
Winston Churchill said, “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of troubles in his life, most of which never happened.”
God’s solution to worry is prayer. Philippians 4:6-7 reads, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, shall guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
As soon as a worry pops into our minds, we should give it to God in prayer and let Him handle it. That’s easier said than done. It’s like playing catch with your son. You can’t throw the ball and hang onto it at the same time.
Yet, we like to help God handle our worries, like He’s not big enough and powerful enough. So let go.
Also, we need to cultivate trust. Worry and trust cannot live in the same heart. When we worry, we aren’t trusting. When we truly trust, then we don’t worry. Worry is a danger signal that we aren’t trusting God.
Often we’re control freaks and want to control people’s behavior, actions, decisions, circumstances and outcomes. We can’t, but God can. We need to turn control over to God. Who’s in charge, anyway?
Then, learn to live one day at a time. Psalm 90:12 refers to numbering our days, not our months and years. We have today. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn’t here yet, so let’s make today count and give our best to make it a good one.
Harvey Penick wrote The Little Red Book, which is sort of a golfer’s Bible. Penick said that most golfers don’t think on the course; they just worry.
“Worrying is a misuse of your mind on the golf course. Whatever your obstacle, worry will only make it more difficult. Worry causes your muscles to tense up, and it is impossible to make a good golf swing when your muscles are too tense.
“Rather than worrying, be mindful of the shot at hand, and play it as if you are going to hit the best shot of your life. You really might . . .”
It’s silly to worry about the next hole when you’re still playing this hole. We can only take it one swing at a time. So do your best today.
Finally, remember God cares for you. He really does. Recognize His care as you entrust to Him your worries.
(Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, GA. The church family gathers at 352 McDonough Road, near McCurry, and invites you to join them this Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 and worship at 10:55 a.m.. Visit them on the web at www.mcdonoughroad.org and “Like” them on Facebook.)