My mother was a fingernail-biting, floor pacing, easily freaked out worrywart. It did no good to try to calm her with assurances that all was well. She dwelt on the worst possible scenario, and fear overtook all reason. I was bound and determined I was going to be cool, calm and collected, come what may.
Then I got married and had kids. Then life happened—and kept happening. The longer you live, the more you love, so the more you have to worry about. But I’m a Christian, and Christians aren’t supposed to worry, right? And since I’m not a fingernail-biting, floor-pacing, totally freaked out worrywart like my mother, I’ve denied that I worry. Instead, I’m “concerned” or “a little anxious.”
Then last week my husband got sick and missed a day of work. He had to sleep sitting up because lying down triggered a wracking cough. Even sitting up, as he’d start to fall asleep, that persistent cough jolted him awake. This went on for several days and nights. I made a trip to town for cough medicine, made chicken soup, checked him frequently. Memories of the pneumonia he had several years ago and bouts with bronchitis over the years had me, well, worried.
He’s doing much better now, but the episode brought me face-to-face with myself: I do worry.
I realized something else: Worry is not a sin. None of us are immune from the suffering, sickness, setbacks and struggles that define the human condition. Nobody lives a hunky-dory life all the time. We know this, and so we wrestle with worry.
It’s when we allow worry to overwhelm us, to take control of our God-sense that we lose our focus and our faith weakens. And this is what God warns us against. The word “worry” comes from a German word that means “to strangle.” Isn’t that what worry does? It chokes our faith, our hope, our joy, our purpose, our dreams.
“Fight fear with faith!” we’re told. But growing faith is a lifelong process, and fear will always be lurking in the background, waiting for the chance to overwhelm us. What to do?
Me? I soak myself in Scripture, especially the verses that tell me what to do with worry: Cast all of it—every bit of it—on God. Why? Because He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7). Pray about it, and God’s peace will take over (Philippians 4:6, 7).
I’ve read the Bible through several times. I’ve meditated on it and studied it. I haven’t found one place where Scripture tells me God doesn’t care about me. In fact, it tells me over and over how much He loves me and is concerned about every aspect of my life (Romans 8:28–39).
But what if you pray and the situation doesn’t change? Remember what God told Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Remember what Paul told the Romans: That God will make this work for your good (Romans 8:28).
In the good fight of faith, I’ll wrestle with worry until the day I die. But God reminds me in His Word that, with His love, I’ll eventually come out on top.
The next time I begin to worry, Lord, remind me that You have my back. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Psalm 37