August 31, 2018
What Works Better than Worry
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? (Luke 12:25, NIV)
Friend to Friend
The phone call comes. Hard news on the other end of the line. I listen and nod. By the time I hang up I feel a weight on my shoulders, like it all depends on me. I begin to worry. This is what I can do, isn’t it? I can carry this around like a dog with an old bone. I can gnaw and twist, bury it and dig it up again. Surely this will be helpful, certainly this will save the day.
But into that place of fear there comes a God-whisper in my heart, “Your worry cannot change the world, only I can.”
Luke 12:25 says, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”
Who of us by worrying can make the prodigal come home, the marriage be restored, the meeting go well, the weight come off, the lights come on, the kids stay safe, the wrong be undone, the project turn out right?
Worry is seductive because it feels like control. If we are worrying then we must be taking action. We must be turning the tide. But this is only a distraction and deception. It’s a shiny object for us to chase to keep us from going to the One who can actually get it done.
When I realize this it doesn’t feel like a rebuke; it feels like a relief. Jesus, in all His gentleness and kindness, His extravagant mercy and care, has taken the boulder from my hands and said, “It doesn’t depend on you.” As I picture this I see the scars on His own palms, hear His voice on the cross saying, “It is finished.”
Isn’t that what we really want to know? That someone is taking care of it, of them, of the situation, the circumstance, the thing that makes us make our pillow soggy with salty tears. This is what God says He will do. He will look out for the sparrows with their wispy feathers and fragile bones. And for us too, with our tender hearts and glass lives.
And even when the worst comes, when everything shatters, He can make it (and us) whole again.
After the call I sit on the edge of my bed and listen to a song, headphones in my ears, hands folded on my lap. I whisper, “God, I release this person I love to You.” I add more words, requests, and hopes. I will say this again in the kitchen. In the car. As I sit in a coffee shop. Because it takes more than one time to win the battle against worry. It’s an ongoing choice, one we falter with often. This is alright because Jesus understands what it is to be human.
What frees our hearts isn't worry; it's worship.In other words, taking all the hard things to Someone who cares for us. Choosing to trust and let go. Believing through the blood, sweat and tears He will mysteriously work it all together for good.
Here's what we can rest in today: The only One who has ever been able to bear the weight of the world on His shoulders is still strong and loving enough to carry all that concerns us too.
God, You are the One who cares for us. I come to You with all that concerns me and release it into Your hands knowing You are good and I can trust You. Surround me with Your love, fill me with Your peace, give me the strength I need today for whatever I may face.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Find a jar or basket that can be your “worry container.” When you have a worry write it down on the front of a slip of paper, pray about it and then place it in the jar as a physical symbol of releasing it to God. From time to time, pull out your old worries and write God’s answers to your prayers on the backs of the slips of paper.
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Originally published Friday, 31 August 2018.