Our culture is frantic with worry. We stress over circumstances we can’t control. We talk about what’s keeping us up at night, and we worry ourselves to death. Unfortunately, worrying has become a part of our culture.
It is almost as if we think if we do not worry, we are not responsible. Sadly, Christians are being trapped in this same fear and worry.
We are called to live and think differently from the worried world around us.
Worry is sin, but we do not seem to take that sin seriously. Worry is a spiritual problem, not a physical one. You cannot “wrestle” with worry in a physical form, which is why it cannot be overcome with willpower. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, which is why the solution to worry is rooted entirely in the sovereignty of God.
We Can All Learn a Little Something from Veggie Tales
If you grew up in a Christian home or have children yourself that you are raising in a Christian home, then you have probably encountered “Veggie Tales”. In this series, vegetables teach children valuable lessons about God and the Bible. It sounds silly because it is, but this Christian teaching tool has been a part of generations of children’s Bible learning at this point.
In one of these well-known “Veggie Tales” songs, the vegetables proclaim joyfully, “God is bigger than the boogie man!” Junior Asparagus, Larry the Cucumber, and Bob the Tomato use this silly, childish refrain to show children what a powerful God we really have. It is easy to tell our children that God is, obviously, bigger and stronger than the “boogie man” and anything else that may scare us or give us fear or anxiety. Why, then, can’t we accept the same for ourselves?
As Adults, We Must Remember & Accept the Strength and Power of God
If you want to truly overcome fear, you must look and understand where that fear comes from. Having done this, the second step in the process is to compare it to God’s power and promises that He makes us (however undeserving we may be).
In His word, we defeat fear.
In His word, we are covered in his grace.
This perspective can help us see things from God’s view instead of our own and, in the process, separate ourselves from the worry and anxiety that rule us. God does not shield us from things we are afraid of. He does not even block all the consequences of our sometimes-awful human choices. Sometimes, He demands we live by His natural laws, created by Him, that no one can defy.
Part of separating yourself from fear and anxiety and bringing yourself closer to God means accepting that simply believing in Him does not mean that you will always be comfortable. You must accept that God will not simply give you everything you want every time you ask for it. You must accept that your physical body can still be hurt and that you will eventually die. If all of that sounds scary, read the next sentence…
No matter what we do and no matter what good or horrible decision we make, God’s amazing grace is that we are always in His hand.
In Hebrews 13:5, God promises, “I will not leave thee, nor will I forsake thee.” The power of this concept can be extremely difficult to embrace when you find yourself face-to-face with a giant threatening to destroy you, but it is at these moments we must refuse to cling to fear or give ourselves to worry.
In 1 Samuel 17, David describes God’s commitment to him in this way: “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” He explains why he refuses to fear the giant Goliath even though the Philistine champion was absolutely terrifying. David refused to accept his fear, however, because he believed it was his responsibility to trust God and, by extension, save his community from the threat it faced.
Believe: It Is Well With My Soul
One of my favorite songs in the whole world is the hymn written by Horatio Spafford, “It Is Well with My Soul.” Spafford was an American lawyer who wrote this song just after he faced the biggest “giant” of his life. He had, in short, a truly terrible time period in his life:
- In 1870, his four-year-old son died of pneumonia.
- The next year, he was financially ruined when his real estate investments literally went up in smoke by the great fire that destroyed Chicago.
- Two years later, an economic downturn further devastated the rest of his financial circumstances.
- If this wasn’t enough; a few years later he sent his family on a ship to Europe, Spafford decided to stay behind to attend to business matters. The ship collided with another vessel and sank in the Atlantic. Even though his wife survived, all four of their daughters were killed.
Then, in the wake of all that tragedy, Spafford wrote one of the most beautiful hymns ever written in which he insists, doggedly,
…Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul…
The beauty I see in this true story is not that tragedy that is out of our control does not happen, but instead that there is power in the understanding and knowledge that although life can be horribly painful, our souls are in the hand of a God who has all the answers. We can lose our jobs, our financial well being, our health, and even our lives, but God is still holding us in the palm of His hand.
In Matthew 6, Jesus asks, “How can we live in the fruits of the spirit with love and peace and joy, as God as called us to do, when we are consumed by anxiety?” He then commands us not to worry.
How can we embrace the habit of not worrying in these difficult times?
Well, practice makes perfect. Shore up your faith and fend off your worry and anxiety by habitually reminding yourself that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Even if you do not feel a deep and overwhelming sense of peace and reassurance, tell yourself over and over that the past, the present, and the future all belong to God and, furthermore, He knows what he is doing.
God knows already what will happen tomorrow. He wants us to live with joy and contentment, trying Him with our present and our future. This trust is a feat our culture does not completely understand, but that does not excuse us from pursuing it or accepting, ultimately, that this trust is something that can only be accomplished through Him.
How can we live in the fruits of the spirit with love and peace and joy, as God has called us to do, when we are consumed by anxiety? We are commanded not to worry, Jesus said in Matthew 6,
Today, Root Your Faith in God
As the first step (or the next step), I encourage you to root your faith in God today. Root your faith in who God is, not in your own willpower.
We often do not give a lot of thought to the fact that worry actually offends God. Anxiety binds us to the “what-if’s” in life and blinds us to the truth that God is available, right here, at the drop of a hat to listen to us and spend as much time with us as we are willing to give to Him.
Spend that time. Make that effort. Dedicate that “brain space” to God instead of to anything that our culture or our world says will help you instead. Even if you do not immediately feel renewed, reassured, or at peace, you will have taken the first step toward these things and accomplished the admirable goal of taking another step closer to your goals and to God.