Worrying About the What Ifs in Life
You’ve heard the old story about the woman out in her smokehouse – crying and weeping and wailing. Neighbors a mile away could hear – they came – they asked, “What’s wrong?” She sobbed, “Well, I got to thinking what if I was married, and what if I had a little child, and that little one was playing right over yonder where that big ham is hanging, and suddenly the twine broke, and the ham fell and killed my baby.” And she returned to her loud wailing.
The circumstances of the story quickly let you know that story has been around for a long time.
Worried About Being a Worrier
I have heard it said that worry is a sign of faithlessness. Almost – if one worries he is not a Christian. As a worrier, I have been disturbed by such ranting in the past. I am not only a worrier, but I have even worried about being a worrier. As have you, worriers.
Is there any good news for a worrier? So much to worry about: pollution – inflation – transportation – extermination -education -intoxication – radiation- population – justification – matriculation – examination – taxation – starvation – expiration.
Is There Any Good News for a Worrier?
I dare say it’s OK to be a worrier. Because it is human to worry.
Oh, as a chaplain, I often visit people who are hospitalized and waiting for test results. In their anxiety many will say, “I’m not worried – God’s will, etc.”. Very pious – denying their humanity under a barrage of God talk.
1. It is human to worry. And it’s OK to be human.
Strange, the Word (Jesus) became human and dwelt among us. In Hebrews, we read that he was tempted as we are tempted, yet without sin.
Think about it. Tempted in every way that we are tempted.
I John 4:5 declares “Try (test) the spirits – whether they be of God. Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has become human is of God.” To deny is anti-Christian.
Adam and Eve were tempted – they were not content to be human. Tempted to eat to become as gods – thinking it wrong to be human.
The Pharisees denied human frailty, claiming to be beyond being human – they called Jesus a winebibber and glutton. His humanity and tolerance of human frailty were anger-provoking to them. It reminded them of their own humanness.
Theologically, Jesus became human; lived as a human; died as a human, rose from the grave as a human and ascended as a human, and retains his humanity as our advocate with the Father – coming again as human – as God and human!
2. I dare say it’s ok to be a worrier because of the grace of God.
What is grace? As R. Lofton Hudson puts it, “It is not a blue-eyed blond. It is the tender love and mercy of God. It is the utter acceptance of God through Jesus Christ. The Atonement- the At-one-ment with God.” We are encompassed in the eternal, blessed favor of God through Jesus Christ.
God’s grace is the altar of true confession. I can risk being me. I can struggle with confessing that I am by nature a human, a worry-prone, mortal man.
It is beautiful to be able to say that I am a worrier and be in the faith – a child of God. Paul says, “By the grace of God, I am becoming more authentically me.”
Now – why would I be so presumptuous as to say that I know that you, to some degree, are a worrier? Or how could I know that a talk on worry is common pain for all of us?
I Corinthians 10:13 says “There has no temptation taken you but that is common to man—“
3. Thirdly, it is ok to be a worrier, but it is painful.
Oh, I know that some of us get a sense of personal worth by worrying. Some of us are superstitious about it – we worry because something bad will happen if we don’t.
Nevertheless, it is painful to be a worrier.
How to Stop the Worry Cycle
Listen to Max Lucado give is 4 Ways to End the Worry Cycle
Paul writes to comfort us in Philippians 4 telling us to:
- Pray – not stop worrying before you pray. God hears a worrier’s prayer. In the midst of worry. Pray!
- Give thanks for the good things
- Do good things – short circuit obsessive worry.
In the same verses, he promises “The Lord is near.” And following the four things we are told to do, the Word of God promises us that the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
There is the victory. Confessing our worry, our weaknesses, and unexplainably finding peace in Christ – not in our own power.
I invite you to watch the GREAT NEWS FOR YOU video on this page to find this unfathomable grace, mercy and peace through Jesus Christ.