By Greg Stokley / @GregStokley
We all know that it feels like. It happens when things don’t go as expected. It blindsides you just as fast as that surprise bill or auto repair. In the blink of an eye, when the news is bad, there is a single, solitary symptom that comes from the onslaught of life and its many problems. It is a silent destroyer, hindering you from enjoying anything and everything you should have joy in.
This killer of dreams is named Worry.
Some of you probably thought I was going to say something else, or you were prepared for it due to the fact that the word “worry’ was in the title. In any case, you know that right now or in the recent past you have battled this very bleak reality of life. We all know how it starts. Something negative happens, and Worry shows up and threatens to consume our every thought. Make no mistake. Worry does not share control. If left unchecked, Worry will literally suffocate you.
This past week, a lot of things went wrong for me. Some, I won’t share, but the event that started it all was an emergency repair on my vehicle that I knew I did not have the money to pay for. Worry and its pal, Stress, jumped on me like a pair of starving wolves that had been stalking their prey for hours. I carried this attitude with me for most of the rest of my week. Worry caused my mind to go into overdrive. My questions went from, “How will I pay for this?” to “Will I ever go back to school at this rate? My dreams are finished!!!”
Yet despite all the woes and ridiculous notions that Worry dropped into my frantic mind, one truth grabbed hold of me. It fought the fear and anxiety, chased away the doubt and hopelessness, and crushed the power of Worry mercilessly as it fought on my behalf.
This truth is a person. That person is Jesus Christ.
He dealt the first heavy blow to Worry with this:
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 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 6:25-34
He followed up with this:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”- Philippians 4:6-7
This was the last blow, the victory strike that killed the enemy of my peace:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”- 1 Peter 5:6-8
The Word of God, spoken by Jesus and those whom he called, was the weapon that defeated my foe. The battle was won, and in all reality, I did nothing. The Holy Spirit brought these Scriptures back to my memory, and as I read them I felt worry lose its grip until it was a presence in my mind no longer.
You see, whenever life hits you, the words of the Lord are the most effective weapon we have. Proverbs tell us to meditate on them day and night, and Ephesians rightly calls them the Sword of the Spirit. It’s so NOT God’s will for his children to be consumed with worry. Jesus died, not so that we could continue to handle life on our own, but to allow Him in His power and might to guide us even through the most troublesome of times. He took our sin and shame, yes, but He also took or sickness, our insecurities, and all our worry.
Remember this the next time there’s too much month and not enough money. Recall it as there arises a crisis in your family. Reflect on it the whenever life throws you the proverbial curve ball.
It is by His stripes we are healed. So when Worry rears its ugly head and threatens your sanity, think about those stripes.
Worried? Don’t be. He took a stripe for that.
Greg Stokley is a ginger from southern Alabama. He loves reading, writing, but not arithmetic. He serves in youth, college, teaching, and preaching ministries. An amateur theologian, he's not afraid to point out bad doctrine, with love of course. He also writes at his own blog, To Be Prophets and Priests. You can contact Greg on Twitter at @gregstokley or at his email firstname.lastname@example.org.