God is Greater Than Your Worries
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, Living Bible
Is it really wrong to worry? Who would deny that there is plenty to worry about–the state of the economy, our health, the Middle East, the domestic problems including feeding the hungry (which few of us really worry about unless we are on the hungry end of the issue), and a lot of other things? But can we help worrying any more than we can help our hair thinning out or what happens to our good looks after age 50?
“It’s my nature to worry–that’s the way God made me! I just can’t help it,” people say, and I admit that I am not always known by the smoothness of my brow. I’ve taken a second, hard look at this issue as the result of reading a manuscript written by a friend who contends that some people can no more help worrying than they can help aging because he believes they have a biological propensity to worry, just as some have a tendency towards poor eyesight or a receding hairline. We get it from our parents, he stresses. While I admit that some people may have more of a biological tendency to worry than others do, can I really go so far as to make the practice acceptable before God by putting the blame on my genetic code, which effectively would let me off the hook?
In either case, I have to confront several passages which clearly make the point that worry is contrary to God’s plan and purpose for my life. First, Jesus had a lot to say about this subject in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7, where He talked about the birds of the air who are fed by our Heavenly Father, and then chides the disciples about worrying over their clothes and what they would eat. It’s obvious in that passage that Jesus considered worry to be wrong because of the power of His Heavenly Father to provide for His children.
Then Paul didn’t mince words, either, when he said, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6). Another translation says, “Don’t worry about anything.” The Greek word that is used in both passages comes from a word which means “to be drawn in two different directions.”
Now I can say that both of these are a statement of what God would like me to do but which is a simple impossibility, but I don’t really believe that. What God says, He means. I believe that His command, which certainly may run counter to my old nature, comes with His enabling.
This means, then, that if God says I should not worry, then there must be an antidote to this whole problem. I recognize that I worry because it seems there are situations which I don’t like and I can’t do anything about, which brings the whole issue of control into the picture. When I’m fully in control, I don’t worry. There’s no need for it! But when I’m not in control, that’s different. But the question goes beyond my control to God’s. Is He in control of what I can’t handle? “Of course,” you say. But worry in effect says, “God, if you are really there, I’m not sure that you are big enough to handle this so I had better spend my time thinking about what I’m going to do if you fail.”
Is there a solution to this problem which we all indulge? There has to be, and there is. Simply put, it is learning to put into His hands what we cannot change and learning more about His nature and character, giving us confidence that He is able to take care of the storms in our life.
For a starter, I’d suggest you jot down Isaiah 40, which talks about God’s great power of creation, and then go back and read Proverbs 3:5,6, which talks about trusting Him and ignoring the signs which cause us to worry, acknowledging Him in all we do. Remind yourself that He who creates our world neither slumbers or sleeps. Then turn out the light and let God take the night shift.
Resource reading: Matthew 6:25-34.