Don’t worry and be afraid, put your faith in God

Michael McGee – Have you ever noticed how everyone worries over something? Whether something from our past, something that looms in our future, our health, our finances, our loved ones, small things, big things, the state of our closets or the state of the union, everyone worries about something — 92 percent in fact are for naught. They are issues that never happen, resolve themselves or are worked out seamlessly in the end.

The Bible does not deny that our lives are filled with concerns and that the daily grind can be difficult. Because we live in a sinful, fallen world, we deal with the challenges of sickness and death, hunger and fatigue, messy families and sticky situations at work. Rather than making light of our troubles, the Bible, as the only rule for what we should believe and how we should live, shows us how to deal with the other 8 percent — the worries that turn into troubles.

In the book of Philippians, God, through the apostle Paul, tells us to “Be anxious for nothing.” Sometimes we try to justify our worry by defending the significance of the issue. However, we must understand that if the Bible tells us not to do something, then doing it is sin. Worry or anxiety is a sin just as much as adultery, murder or theft. Worry does not have the same consequences as these sins, but it is rooted in unbelief and is the result of not trusting God.

Furthermore, worry is ineffective. It doesn’t give any real control over our circumstances, rather it drains us of our energy and wastes our time. It overwhelms us and truly is a practice of futility. Worry also is debilitating, for it distracts us from the joy we should have as Christians and promotes depression and discouragement. Furthermore, it is deceptive, for although we declare God to be good, sovereign and powerful, yet worry shows we believe the opposite.

Thankfully, God gives us instruction for what to do with our worries and troubles: Pray. Paul tells us “by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your request to God.” Prayer simply is communicating with God. Prayer causes Christians to see their weakness and inability and look to their Heavenly Father for His solution, hope, confidence, strength and comfort.

When we cast our cares before the Lord, we must resist the temptation to take them up again to recycle our worries and doubts. We are to leave these things with the Lord, knowing He will work through our circumstances to accomplish His purpose for our lives.

We are further challenged to make our petitions with thanksgiving. Gratitude in the midst of affliction is not a natural reaction, but a thankful heart is the solution to worry, for it redirects our thinking so that we reflect on the goodness of God extended to us through through the Lord Jesus Christ and are overwhelmed with the promises that He has made and fulfilled on our behalf.

Because of this command, “Do not worry” and the method to deal with worry “by prayer and supplication let your request be made known to God,” we may be assured that as Christians we have the peace of God, which rules our hearts and minds. God gives us peace not only for our souls in eternity, but also on this earth, as promised by our Lord in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” It is this peace beyond human comprehension that causes the Christian to be assured all is well and God is in control, even in the midst of difficult times.

In the 1600s, in the midst of a war that lasted for 30 years, there was a Lutheran pastor named the Rev. Martin Rinkart, in what is now Germany. In one year, he watched much of his community die from injury, disease and famine, often performing 40 to 50 funerals each day, including that of his own precious wife. During this time, he taught his children a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving which contained these words: “O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us, with ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us; and keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed; and free us from all ills, in this world and the next.”

Our lives are not the 30-year war, but we are daily in the midst of a fight with sin, the flesh and even the devil. We are facing difficulties in this life, burdened with concerns for ourselves, family and friends. We are troubled by our daily cares and strife. May it be that we would thankfully take our concerns to the Lord, knowing that He will hear and will answer in His time and will grant us His peace.

Michael McGee is the interim pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church.

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