3 Things You Can Do About Worry
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. Isaiah 49:16
"Do you know the difference between a lawyer and God?" asks a comedian, and when someone says, "No, what?" he responds, "God knows he's not a lawyer." While most folks (excluding you, who are attorneys) may smile at that, a great many people today tend to play god. Struggling over the issue of control, we think that we have to make things happen, and when we can't, we worry. And when we can't change things that we dislike, we become afraid of losing control so we worry all the more and live as though there were no God in the universe, no one to whom we can turn when we have reached our human limits.
Possibly I just stated the problem: We turn to Him only when we reach the end of our human resources and abilities, and because we aren't on more familiar terms with Him, we feel uncertain, somewhat like a stranger in the palace of a great King, and we are hesitant to believe that our problem is His concern.
The fact is that I cannot control most of the things that happen to me. Like what? I cannot control the fact that birthdays seem to come every six months, or the fact that the economy isn't very good. I cannot control the storms that come sweeping across an unfriendly ocean, or the flow of governments. Time, weather, governments, and economies are all beyond my grasp, and, like it or not, these affect us all. God makes the rain to fall on the just as well as the unjust, and because I am his child, I can't expect all sunshine and blue sky while my neighbor alone is troubled with the hardship of living in a broken world.
There are, however, some things that I can and must do. First--I must let God be God and not try to replace His influence and dealings in my life. While most of you would freely acknowledge God's existence, not all of you by any stretch of the imagination have given up trying to help out God when it comes to problems. Trusting God is not resignation. It isn't giving up. It certainly is not refusing to do what can be done, but it is the willingness to let God's peace fill your heart and trust Him to change what you would like to change.
Second--I can control my response to situations that I would like to change. Once, as my wife and I were trying to work out travel plans for a trip next year, we learned that the hotel we so much wanted to stay at no longer would accept the travel rewards which would have let us stay without cost. As irritation began to simmer I had to think, "God knew that a long time ago. He must have another plan so instead of being annoyed, let's find out what it is."
Third--when I cannot change some things, I can cast those burdens on the Lord and leave them with Him. Of course, doing that, you run the risk of allowing Him to fix things much differently from what you would. And why not? You know in part, but He knows the whole. You see only the dim future, and He knows the end from the beginning. In doing this I become obedient to what God has commanded in His Word. Like what? Take, for example, the clear statement of Peter, who wrote, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7). Did you catch that phrase, "He cares for you"? Literally it says, "because it matters to him concerning you." I like that!
All the time we have been thinking that we are on our own in a cold, unfriendly world when the fact is the very hairs of our heads of numbered and our names are written on His hand.
It is time to stop trying to change what we cannot change, and let God be God.
Resource reading: Psalm 19: 1-14