I was having a conversation with some coworkers one day, and one of them had just purchased a house with her husband. She expressed her concern that they were taking a huge step forward, and the gravity of it all was causing her worry and anxiety. It wasn’t that she didn’t have a good job or that her husband of the last 5 months was unemployed. It was simply the idea of becoming a homeowner was a bit overwhelming for her. And one of my other coworkers who is older and wiser reassured her that she would be fine and that they were doing something great together as they began their journey as husband and wife. Her philosophy about worry was simple: Is it really important? For someone who had lived much more life than me or this other young lady who had purchased a home, she had a unique perspective. There are so many things that happen in life that are “worth worrying about” that, for her, buying a house was low on the list. But that made me wonder about the things that we worry about, and how often we ought to ask ourselves, “Is it really important?”
Worry is generally defined, when used as a verb, as to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; (to) fret. Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? Take it one step further when you consider worry as a noun:
Worry, annoy, (and) harass all mean to disturb or interfere with someone’s comfort or peace of mind.
Now, who, in their right mind, would want to participate in anything that “disturbs or interferes with their comfort or peace of mind?? Not me. But the reality is that we do it all the time. We worry about our families. We worry about our jobs. We worry about our finances. We worry about the society we live in and the direction we are headed in as a country. We worry about what we will eat for dinner, or lunch, or breakfast, if we are lucky enough to have time to remember breakfast. We worry about the car, and the house, and the church. We worry about what clothes to wear, or what our children will wear, because they are growing like weeds. We worry about the laundry that hasn’t been done. We worry about how we will make time for our friends, our significant other, and even ourselves in our busy schedules. It’s a wonder with all the worrying we do on a daily basis that we can function! And yet Jesus told His disciples not to worry:
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life–whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all our needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
[Matthew 6:25-33 NLT]
You see, the truth of the matter is that, when the Christ follower starts to worry, he or she is inadvertently telling God that he or she doesn’t trust Him. Yes, it’s that simple. When someone tells you, in no uncertain terms, that you ought not to worry because He has everything under control, and you choose to worry anyway, you are sending a message that His word means nothing to you. This passage should bring the peace that Paul talks about when he reiterates the mandate to choose the kingdom and prayer over worry:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
[Philippians 4:6-7 NLT]
There’s the peace that you have been looking for… Right there in Paul’s words. Prayer is an exchange; it’s never one-sided. When you decide to entrust the things that concern you into the hands of the Creator, He, in turn, gives you His peace. No more allowing worry to “interfere or disturb your peace of mind”, because God wants to restore your peace. There is comfort and peace that comes from knowing that the Creator of the Universe is intimately involved in and concerned about the affairs of humanity. You don’t have to worry; He has it all under control. He wants us to focus on seeking Him and His kingdom, and then, in response to our obedience, He supplies our every need. Seems simple, right? With Easter swiftly approaching, and in light of the incredible sacrifice that Christ made in order to bridge the gap caused by sin between Creator and creation, it’s clear to me that He is a Man who can be trusted with the heaviest burdens on your heart. And He so wants you to…
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
[Mat 11:28-30 ESV]
Won’t you entrust Him with all those things that worry you and accept His peace that surpasses all human understanding? I promise you won’t regret it.