Devotional on Worry

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I want to take up how it seems to me that many Christians worry too much. Worry about a new situation or problem is not bad. No, it is very sound and good to begin anything by evaluating the situation fairly and completely, pro and con, as thoroughly as possible. You would be a fool not to.
When first presented with a problem, review it. Your review should include the question, “what if,” That way you can consider future possibilities and take out whatever insurance in thought, action or actual policy is called for by the nature of the situation. Then do about it as you are able. So far this is very good and wise on your part to consider how to protect yourself, your family or your goods. However, your form of insurance should not be entirely negative. It must include positive constructive thinking on how to improve the situation as well as your finding simply a protective device to defend yourself and yours in the possibility of calamity or backfire.
But worrying has a law of diminishing returns. After you have done the above, you have reached the point of diminishing returns. At that point the energy spent on worry is usually wasted. Then you need to stop worrying, having done what you can, and leave the situation to God.
There is that point in worrying where you need to stop fretting yourself. Then take confidence you and the Lord can and will handle whoever and whatever comes. I would say examples of such times are when your child goes off to a radical college, when your sister or brother marries an appearing idiot, or your grandchild’s mother files for divorce. The ride promises to be bizarre. You will have to play it by ear. Worrying won’t help much. Praying will. Prayer is always preferable to worry.
Jesus never fails. I thought this when I was young, but I am older now and I know it. Sometimes it looks as if He has failed, but we cannot always see the whole picture, the spiritual nuances, the divine irony, and the new perspectives that time and transcendence can give. There are paths we would never dream of that God knows and reveals. While God loves and works for everyone through common grace, He works best with those who work with Him in redeeming grace.
Prayer is interaction with God. While people on the visible side may not see where prayer has any purpose, those on the inside learn through it. It is through working with God that God’s existence is proven to us. Often it is by working together on a common goal with God that we find God working and become sure of His reality.
So when you choose to pray rather than worry, remember God expects you to do your part by building the highway over which He shall come. Don't pray to God to do everything. The Bible tell us John the Baptist prepared the spiritual highway for Jesus through John’s preaching. Likewise God expects you to prepare a highway over which His grace, the grace you you are praying for, may come. God’s grace will be perfected in your actions preparing the way for that answer you are praying for. Oliver Cromwell told his soldiers in preparing for battle, “Pray and keep the powder dry.” Prepare and pray.
It was a true saying in former days, if you would have water, prime the pump. If you would have grace, prepare for it. So if you would have Iove, give it. if you would have kindness, bestow it. If you would have blessings, be a blessing. Whatever you give, that will be given unto you. Whatever you prime the pump with is what you will get back more of. For some it will mean vinegar; for some it will be gall. For some it will be gross materialism. As the Bible says, “As you sow, so shall you reap.”
If worrying is what you spend a lot of time doing, this forebodes ill for you. Sowing squeaks of worry and, whining out your fears is a poor response to God’s great gift of life. It implies a bad day and a poor reaping when the time appointed for returns on energy invested rolls around which it will do in God’s good time. I advise you to consider giving out more than worry to those around you and with you. Would it not be better, deeper and wiser to give them Christ?


Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.


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