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Don’t worry, put your trust, faith in God

BY AL EARLEY

Religion Columnist

Is your life stressful? Do you think of yourself as a worrier? I think all of us are prone to worry about something. Some people are prone to worry about most things. But, it is only natural that we should worry.

There is so much to worry about: the safety and security of our family; toxic people; toxic work environment; health and sleep issues; time issues and being too busy; conflict and money — just to name a few.  All this worrying causes us to have fatigue, anxiety, lack of focus and addictive behaviors which adds more stress to our already stressful lives. What is a person to do?

Let’s look at what Jesus has to say about dealing with worry and stress. The worry text is Matthew 6:25-34.  Basically, Jesus says we are to trust God with our lives.  He cares for us more than all of his other creatures. He knows what we need, so if he completely takes care of the sparrow, then we can trust him to take care of us.

We are to trust our lives to God, and when we get anxious and worry, then that reveals a place in our lives where we don’t trust God. Jesus closes with the words, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:33-34).

What usually happens when I read the worry text to people is they hear, “Don’t worry…blah, blah, blah,” their eyes glaze over, they check out and they get this look on their face that clearly communicates I can’t do anything about my worrying.  Or, they get a defiant look on their face that says, “I don’t worry.  How dare you suggest I worry.”

And then they go on to tell me about all the things they worry obsessively about.  Worrying is a real problem for the vast majority of people in our country.  Worrying about things we can’t do anything about is a national past time.

So how do we get a grip on our worry issues? First, realize we live in a fallen world. Life is hard, and it is not always fair. There will always be toxic environments and toxic people around us, as well as all the other issues that we say cause us stress. We have to realize that the causes of stress do not have to bring about the effects of stress.

But, we cannot find peace from stress in a fallen world without the help of God.  To learn to trust God more, we have to learn to pray to God more.  We have to let God take care of us more, so when life gets truly stressful we will be able to trust God and not be stressed.

An interesting example is the relationship between Paul and the Roman Centurions assigned to take him to Rome to face trial and perhaps sentenced to death.

Throughout the journey from Jerusalem to Rome these guards seem much more stressed by their assignment then Paul ever was.  As you read through Acts 22-28 you see these well trained warriors put in situations they cannot handle, and then they turn to Paul for guidance from God.

In Acts 27:27ff. the centurion has almost completed his task of getting Paul to Rome when a terrible storm destroys the ship.  Paul had told them not to set sail, but they hadn’t listened.  When it was clear that the ship was being destroyed, the centurion turns to Paul for guidance and Paul tells him, and the crew, what to do to be saved, and make it to a nearby island.

No one died, and the island residents rolled out the red carpet and took care of Paul, and the rest of the 276 people on board the ship.

Being able to remain calm, cool and collected under stress is not simply the ability of the great disciples of the Bible. Jesus tells all of us not to worry.

You can start by asking your spouse, or someone you trust if you are a worrier and what you worry about.  They will be more honest with you than you can usually be with yourself.  The things you worry about reveal the places you don’t trust God.

Start praying about those things and growing in your willingness to trust God in those areas.  Next week’s article will deal with what is going on in our brain that makes it hard to break the worry cycle.

To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles go to lagrangepres.com.