Worry – the Oxford Dictionaries define it as “[feeling] anxious or troubled about actual or potential problems.” To worry is to let your mind dwell on troubles or difficulties, and in most cases, what we worry about never happens. Studies show that only about 8% of our worries are really legitimate troubles, and a huge percentage of the things we worry about never happen. We spend so much of our emotional energy worrying about things we can’t change or things that never take place.
Worry doesn’t solve problems. It doesn’t keep bad things from happening. It doesn’t motivate you or help you cope. Yet we still continue to worry. I know I’m guilty of worrying. It’s so easy to get caught up in worry. We worry about finances, our health, our family, our jobs, what other people think, and what the future holds.
Over time, worry can start affecting your daily life. Chronic worrying can interfere with your relationships, job performance, appetite, sleep, and lifestyle. Medical science even tells us that chronic emotional stress and worry can trigger many health problems, such as suppression of your immune system, short-term memory loss, heart disease, digestive issues, and even heart attack. Mentally, worry can lead to anxiety and depression.
Doctors and psychologists will tell you that worry is bad for you, both mentally and physically. But what does God have to say about worry?
Worry is Disobedience
Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what y shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, what shall we eat or, what shall we drink or, wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that yet have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:25-34 KJV)
If you take a look at this passage in the New Living Translation, it says “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life…” and then it goes on to say, “So don’t worry about these things…So don’t worry about tomorrow…” Don’t worry!
What does God have to say about worry? He commands us not to do it. The same God who tells us in the Bible not to lie, not to kill, not to commit adultery is now telling us in the book of Matthew that we are not to worry. It’s a command – one that so many of us have difficulty following.
Worry doesn’t just hurt us (just look at all the negative physical and mental effects of worry), but it also hurts God. Why? Because worry is the opposite of faith. When we worry, we are telling God with our actions that we don’t trust him to come through for us. We’re doubting that he will take care of us. When we stay up at night worrying about a problem, we’re essentially telling God, “I don’t have faith that you are going to take care of this problem for me.”
If you’re a parent, as I am, think about how it would hurt your heart if you found out your child was up at night worrying that you wouldn’t provide for them. You’d feel bad because you love your child, and you want them to trust that you’ll always take care of them. When we worry, as God’s children, it grieves his heart.
Here in Matthew, we see Jesus saying, look at the flowers and the birds. I take care of them. Don’t you think that I’m going to take care of you, too? Why are you worrying? Can it really change anything?
Ask yourself this question: When did God ever fail you?
God has never failed me one time. Yet it’s still so easy to worry; and Jesus says here, “Oh ye of little faith.” A poignant reminder that my worry is a sign of my lack of faith.
Let me ask you again: When did God ever fail you?
Not one time!
The Solution: Cast All Your Cares and Worries on Jesus
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (I Peter 5:7 KJV)
We know from the book of Matthew that we’re commanded NOT to worry. But we are human. It’s not easy to lay aside our worry. Thankfully, the Bible gives us a solution for dealing with our worries in life: “Casting all your care upon him.”
The solution to worry is talking to Jesus. Telling Jesus about our worry. Laying all of our burdens right down at his feet. God doesn’t like to see us worry because he cares for us. We’re his beloved. And he longs for us to bring it all to him.
What are you worrying about? When was the last time you talked to Jesus about it? Have you told him how you feel about it? Have you laid your heart bare before him? Have you let out all the anguish and pain and despair you are feeling? He wants you to!
And Jesus doesn’t just want us to share our cares and worries with him, he wants us to cast them on him. He wants us to lay them down and let him carry them.
Next time you find yourself awake at night worrying, tell Jesus all about those thoughts and feelings. Instead of trying to bear it alone – when your worry can do absolutely nothing – talk to the person who has the power to take care of you and do something about your worries.
Once you cast your cares on Jesus, then you need to leave them there. It’s so easy to spend time with Jesus, tell him about our problems, give him our worries, and then the next day pick them right back up again. And we’re back to worrying and back to doubting God and his promises.
No! God wants us to leave our worries with him. To have faith that he’ll come through. To stop bearing the burden of worry because we have faith that he will always take care of us, in every situation.
Don’t Worry About Anything…Pray About Everything!
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6 KJV)
In this verse, the Bible is telling us: Don’t worry about anything! Instead, God wants us to pray about everything. He wants us to come to him in prayer, letting him know what we need and thanking him for what he has already done.
It’s difficult to worry when you’re thanking and praising God. An attitude of gratitude to God changes our perspective. Next time you’re worrying, start thanking God for what he’s done for you. Begin praising him for what he’s going to do for you. Talk to him about your worries, tell him what you need, and then praise him.
Philippians 4:7, in the New Living Translation, goes on to say: “THEN you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.” After we give up our worries, pray about them, ask God for what we need, and praise him…THEN we’re going to have peace. And it’s God’s peace, which is beyond anything we can even understand.
When we follow these directions from God, we’re going to get peace that the world doesn’t understand. You might not know where the next month’s rent is coming from, but you’re at peace because you gave it to God, and he’s going to provide. Perhaps you’re facing a physical battle, but you’ve taken it to Jesus, and you’re praising him for what he’s going to do. The world can’t figure that out.
Whatever you’re worrying about right now, God wants you to cast that worry on him. A life if worry is not one God wants for his people. It hurts you, and it hurts Jesus. He wants to take your worries from you. And he wants to give you peace.