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  • Dan Wilson

Worry is a Double Whammy

Do you ever worry? Do you occasionally have anxiety or fear about the future? If you do, you are not alone. The most recent federal statistics show that 32% of all adults experienced anxiety in the last year. The numbers are even worse for young adults – aged 18 to 24. Fifty percent of this age group reported anxiety in 2023.

Researchers at Cornell University have given us some fascinating insight into worry. They conducted a study that followed people over an extended time and discovered that 85% of what people worried about never happened. Some studies place this number as high as 97%. So, the odds are on our side. More importantly, God is on our side.

The phrase “Do not worry” is recorded 365 times in the Bible. This is one of my favorites, a mantra I refer to almost daily.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

Here’s my definition of worry. Placing your faith or trust in something/someone other than God. God the Father tells us: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32 (NKJV)

The world, not surprisingly, has a much different approach. Modern medical care has an easy fix – take a pill. In the process, it has created an epidemic of folks addicted to medicine that only masks the issue temporarily and, in the end, creates a separate set of issues that must be dealt with. And causes - you guessed it – more anxiety. The only permanent solution is found in Christ.

Another of my favorite verses on this subject in the Bible also comes from Romans:

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

So, in my mind, the progression of logic flows like this:

  • God made us.

  • He loves us so much He gave up His most precious possession to restore us.

  • He is omnipotent (all-powerful).

  • He promised us He will work all things (not just some) for our good.

  • So there.

Does that mean we won’t experience stinky stuff? No, it does not. It also does not mean that God will ease the painful consequences when we choose to trust our own knowledge and understanding instead of God’s. It’s actually quite the opposite. Think about it. If you never learn from mistakes, you will continue to make bigger and bigger mistakes that each result in bigger and uglier negative consequences. Sometimes, the consequences of bad choices are far-reaching and often impact those around us. Take, for example, the current Israel – HAMAS conflict. This painful conflict, which has resulted in much loss of life for centuries, continues to this day. And it all stems from a single bad decision that Abraham and Sarah made some 4,000 years ago. They chose to take matters into their own hands rather than trust God. This is a great lesson on what can happen when we don’t trust God to fulfill His promises in His way and in His time.

Why do you suppose God spends so much time talking about the subject of fear and anxiety in His Word? I believe there are at least a couple of obvious reasons. First, He knows how we think (after all, He made us), and second, He wants to provide comprehensive instructions for us to deal with the things that might cause worry.

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV)

The Bible addresses every single issue, concern, question, and challenge we might face in our lives. When we feel fear, when we have anxiety, and worry, it does two terrible things. It’s a “double whammy.” First, it distracts us and stops us from living the fully wonderful life God wants for you and me that He has planned for us.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

Worry can handcuff us and steal our joy. We know who the thief is, and we know who wants to steal from us the joy and blessing that God promised.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 (NKJV)

Secondly, it keeps us from being salt and light, the hands and feet of Jesus in the world around us. It keeps us from being the effective disciples that Jesus told us we are to be:

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ’All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV)

Anxiety is actually selfish. It steals our joy and robs those around us of the joy that Jesus calls you and me to spread. Worry steals what you have been promised and what you have to give others. You cannot enjoy God’s wonderful blessings, nor can you serve Him in this life as He designed you to do while living in a spirit of fear.

When I think back on all the times I have worried about things, big and small, and realized that they amounted to nothing, I should learn to do better. Alas, I still worry from time to time. Our heavenly Father has given us the tools to defeat Satan, who wants to steal our joy and sideline us as believers who are here to share the good news with the lost and dying world around us. The thing that has helped me the most in the struggle to manage anxiety is staying close to the Father. Daily time spent in the Word, regular fellowship with other believers, and time in conversation with God.

“Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.” – Glenn Turner

{As adapted from THE BONDAGE BREAKER and STOMPING OUT THE DARKNESS by Dr. Neil T. Anderson and Dr. Dave Park}

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