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Are you a worry wart?

By 07/03/20122 Comments

“Where have you been? We’ve been worried sick about you!”
“He about worried himself to death.”

Worry afflicts many Christians. It’s so easy to worry. As one of our Kinship staff recently confessed, there was a moment in her young life when she was worried that she would have nothing to worry about.
Now, let’s be clear. We’re not talking about legitimate concern here. Your teenage daughter said she’d be home at 10:00 p.m. and it’s now 11:00. You’re driving your car and the oil light comes on and you hear a knocking noise from under the hood.  Those are legitimate causes of concern that require immediate action.
Nor are we talking about people with anxiety attacks. These are the result of a medical condition and are the reason God gave us doctors and trained professionals who can and do help.
No, were talking about those nagging thoughts that something bad is about to happen or could happen just because, well, bad things happen to good people.
The Bible tells us hundreds of times not to be afraid and not to worry. But for some people, they just can’t seem to help it. In some cases, it seems people worry because if they don’t, it seems like they don’t care. For others, it’s like an addiction.
Various studies have been done to determine how much of what we worry about actually happens. The best information I can find indicates that about 92% of the time, what we worry about never happens. So, 92% of the time, worry is a lie and a waste of time. And the other 8% of the time does worrying about it actually change the outcome?
Worrying undoubtedly steals the joy we have in the Lord, and worrying certainly steals praise and glory from God. Worry is the opposite of faith.
Numerous studies have shown worry is bad for the body. One such study in Australia found that people who worry excessively about their health make up somewhere between four and seven percent of those who need surgery and those people have health care costs ten to 13 times higher than people who don’t worry so much!
In fact, our English word, “worry” comes from a word that describes how a wolf clamps his jaws on the windpipe of his prey and kills it. It means, “to strangle.”
I’m sure we can all think of more than one Bible verse that tells us not to worry, but let’s look at Mark 4 where Jesus had just finished preaching to the crowd on the shore of the Sea of Galilee:

35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” 36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”

Peter, James, Andrew, and John were commercial fisherman. They were very, very familiar with boats and were also familiar with the Sea of Galilee. These were not a bunch of tourists out on a pleasure cruise.
The Sea of Galilee is eight miles wide, 13 miles long, and 150 feet deep. This is no little farm pond. Waves are beating into the boat and it is filling up with water. There are no life jackets, no bilge pumps, no life boats, no radio to call for help. The boat is moments away from sinking.
Cause for legitimate concern?
You bet! In fact, they didn’t just wake Jesus and say, “Ummmm Lord, we’re taking on a little water here, so you might want to get ready to swim.” No, they said, “Hey! We’re dying here! Don’t you care?!?!
Then, in one of the moments from the Bible that has engraved itself in stone in my mind, Jesus utters three words:

“Peace, be still!”

And the wind stops and the sea goes flat.
I can’t help but think that He intended those three words to be the same three words we think of when worry comes crashing over the sides of our boats and threatens to sink us.
I also think He went back to sleep on that pillow, but we don’t know that for sure.

Where is the line between legitimate concern and worry? How do you cope with the temptation to worry? What calms your crashing waves and brings peace to you? 

Today’s Post written by Dan Jones

Today’s Praise:
Psalm 66:2
Sing out the honor of His name; Make His praise glorious.

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