By Terry Gardner
“Don’t worry, be happy,” is the refrain of an old song. Good advice but very hard to follow. Jesus tells us, “Do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matt. 6:25) Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
The reality is every human being worries. This past year one of my feet developed a condition called “drop-foot.” The foot simply was not striking the ground properly, it was slapping the ground and nothing I could do seemed to control the problem. Was this a symptom of some much more serious condition? Was it the onset of Parkinson’s? MS? Or perhaps even the dreaded ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)! I ignored the problem, worried about the problem, was tested by having mild electrical shocks sent through the muscles in my legs and finally a test was completed in which acupuncture type needles were inserted in my legs. Time was spent in worry combined with money spent on physicians, only to find out the problem was minor and would go away on it’s own!
Of course, most of things we worry about never come to pass. Jesus directs us to the lesson of the birds in the sky that don’t plant crops nor gather the produce into barns “and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” The key to minimizing our worry time is to remember that no matter what this life holds for us our heavenly Father loves us, cares about us and has prepared a place for us with him. “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3).
How then can we minimize worry? Three thoughts come to mind:
First, “cast all your care on Him, for He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7). If you are not praying like you should you will worry constantly. Faith helps drive worry far away. Paul reminds us to worry “about nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Phil. 4:6).
Second, remember to be about our Father’s business. That is why we are here. Worry does not help me or anyone else. Jesus asked, “Who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” (Matt. 6:27) When I am doing the Father’s will the time available for worry goes way down. Usually in helping others, you discover how blessed you are. I remember a poem from childhood one line of which was, “I felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.” Both our happiness and worries are driven by what we compare ourselves to and how we handle the troubles that life sends to every human being. Remember that the storms came to both the wise man whose house was built on the rock and the fool who built his home on the sand. If your life is anchored to the bedrock of Faith in God Almighty, the storms of life will not shake you.
Third, focus on the positive. Paul tells us, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely whatever is of good repute; if there be any excellence and if there be anything worthy of praise, think on these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil. 4:10). What do you watch? What do you read? Whom do you spend time with? What songs do you sing?
Peter walked on the water as long as he focused on Jesus. When Peter took his eye off Christ and saw the storms, he immediately began to sink. We will all worry some, it is the human condition, but we can minimize our worries by remembering that our Father made the Universe and all things in it and I am his heir.