We are worriers. We worry about our families, our children, our health, our work our wellbeing. Although it is normal to worry, it is dangerous. Worrying is an obstacle to giving our attention to the real things that are important. Worry can use up time and energy we could be putting into doing something about our concerns. Worry can damage our health.
Jesus gives us some practical steps on how to overcome worry before it overcomes us. When we start to worry, he says to remember the presence of God in our lives. Life is too big a challenge to handle on our own strength. So much that happens in our lives is out of our control. Worry has no power to change things. The real power for people of faith is trusting that God is with us. The birds of the air produce no food and are fed. Wildflowers do nothing more than grow and are beautifully colored. In the same way, God is always with us to provide what we need to make it through the events and circumstances of our lives (Matthew 6:24-34).
Jesus reminds us worry is futile and fruitless. Worry does not lengthen our lives or make them better. If anything, it shortens them and produces nothing but colds, backaches and headaches. Worry can complicate our problems. First, we have the problem, then we have the negative consequences of worry to add to them. Worry is a self-inflicted burden. When we have a challenge, go to work on it. If a solution is clearly out of our reach, then we hand it over to God. Someone once said, “If worrying is keeping you from sleeping at night, give it to God, he is up all night anyway.”
Jesus tells us to stop carrying tomorrow’s burdens today. Many of the things we worry about never happen. A dying old man said, “I’ve experienced a lot of trouble in my life, most of which never happened.” Imaginary problems are harder to solve than real ones. Nobody is strong enough to carry the real problems of today and the imaginary ones of tomorrow. How much better to let our lives be handled by the Lord, instead of allowing worry to handle our lives.
Together in faith,
Very Rev. Christopher H. Smith, Rector