Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don't forget to thank him for his answers. Philippians 4:6, LB
When Lyndon Johnson was asked how he was getting along, he replied "Fine!" He explained that he had adopted the formula once given to him by an old woman many years ago. She said, "When I walks, I walks slow. When I sits, I sits loosely. When I sees a worry coming on me, I just go to sleep." It seems that nearly everyone has his own concerns over which he worries. We worry about the weather, about taxes, about the world situation and about government. We worry about the spread of global terrorism. Single folks worry about getting married, and a lot of married folks that I know worry about staying that way.
Have you ever considered the fact that worry is a senseless and futile pastime which only drains your life of energy and siphons off your productivity? A panel of psychologists concluded that forty percent of the things people worry about never happen. Thirty percent of worry, they say, is about past events which are now history. It will not help one bit to worry about things such as: how well you did on yesterday's test, how well you performed at last week's party, old grievances, or last year's opportunities. Twelve percent of our worries, say these experts, are about our health. Ten percent of the things that we worry about concern trifling items that really do not make a lot of difference. That leaves only eight percent of our worries that psychologists would classify as legitimate areas of concern.
If these observations are true, and they seem quite logical, then we worry an awful lot about things that we can neither control nor should greatly concern us. "Worry," said George Lyons, "is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble."
One of the interesting, if not ironical, things about worry is that believers indulge in the pastime of worry just about as much as those who believe there is no God at all. If, of course, there is no God who directs in the affairs of men, it would be a good idea to worry a little bit every day‑‑ just to keep us on our toes, to keep us from going to sleep at the switch. But if there is a sovereign God who directs in the affairs of His children, then we had better put our faith into practice, which means we can say, "All right, God, you take over the night shift because I am going to sleep."
Do you believe "...all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28)? Paul wrote to the Ephesians and in his opening remarks said that God works "all things after the counsel of His will" (Ephesians 1:11).
Could I anticipate your thoughts? You are not concerned about God's keeping the earth from colliding with another planet‑‑brushing a few million people off into space‑‑but you are a little worried about the consequences of your own mistakes; what you should have said that you did not say, or possibly what you did that you should not have done.
When all is said and done, do you not think that God is big enough and gracious enough to keep us from the tragic consequences of our own failures at the same time? Are you fighting worry? Then take your New Testament and turn to Jesus' sermon on worry found in Matthew, chapters five, six and seven. Then ask yourself if you do not think that God really has everything in control. Yes, worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.
Resource reading: Philippians 4:1-23