I was in my late teens when I watched my aunt and grandfather simultaneously battle cancer. Few advances had been made in treating the disease at that time, yet they persevered courageously. It was my first real encounter with great suffering, which unexpectedly introduced me to a fear I had not known before then.
Though no one was aware of my battle, I began traveling the unenviable path of worry. If you’ve every walked that path, you know it’s misery. Every bump, every cough, every modest health change catapulted my thoughts to near panic. Could this be cancer? Visits to the doctor became common and fretting overshadowed life’s joys. The battle continued for nearly two years before I came to terms with the fact that worry had invaded my life as insidiously as if cancer had invaded my body. I knew it had to end and that resolution would only be possible with God. That was over 40 years ago and it was an invaluable lesson on the waste of worry. You see, in all that time I never encountered an issue with cancer, but had I continued in that mindset, anxiety would have robbed me of the life I was given.
Worry is a burdensome thing. By definition, it is to torment oneself with, or suffer from, disturbing thoughts; to fret, to move with effort. It’s unpleasant, yet human nature tends to default to worry because life is fragile. In our fallen world, dangers abound. Threats exist that can affect our health, relationships, institutions, economy and nation. Unexpected events can touch us individually or collectively and, the truth is, we know that. So we’re left with a choice. Will we be over-comers or will we be overcome? Our focus determines our response; either trust the promises of God or react with our own perspective.
Most certainly our frail condition and tendency to worry is fully understood by the Creator, for His Word is filled with “fear not” promises that we can trust Him, even when we don’t understand our circumstances. Jesus told us that we would have troubles in this world, but immediately assured us to take courage because He has overcome for us.
In the 6th Chapter of Matthew, Jesus addresses this matter of worry and provides a compelling reason to let it go. “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” The questions is rhetorical and the answer is obvious. No one. Worrying doesn’t change a thing. It won’t add a day to our life span, an inch to our growth or a solution to the events of tomorrow. Worry transfers faith away from the One who holds the future and assumes responsibility in matters beyond our control. Worry borrows grief that may or may not come about. But even worse, it robs us of rest because we try to wrestle from God understanding which belongs to Him alone.
So, what about you? Are you making unnecessary trips to the doctor or envisioning a tomorrow that will bring some unwanted sorrow? You don’t have to. There’s a place to lay it down. Jesus, who conquered the grave, can conquer your fears ~ if you will go to Him. Replace your worry with praise of the Savior and take to heart the good news that God is with you. “The Lord is at hand. 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, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:5-7 (NKJV)
If you have trusted Jesus as your Savior, you need not waste another moment worrying. Regardless of what a day may bring, He is working all things for good. It may not be clear right now; it may not even look like victory, but one day the mystery will be unveiled and we will stand in awe of The Power that brought us safely through.