The Worry Commandment: Immovable Worries
The Worry Commandment: Immovable Worries
Week of April 1, 2019 by Tom Deighan
Just imagine getting out and inspecting every bridge before we cross or meticulously checking every inch of our cars before every small trip. We drink water without testing it. We fly in airplanes without inspecting the wing flaps. We do all these things without much thought because we know we have little, if any, control over of these issues. Even if we could control them all, our lives would be so consumed with minutia that we would not be able to function. In the end, we live our lives in faith that the people in charge have done their jobs or the systems in place will not fail.
Worries and anxieties fall into two extremes. At one end we worry about things we have control over when we should instead address them, like procrastinating about our taxes. At the other extreme, however, we worry about things that we have little or no control over, like a meteor hitting the earth. No matter what we do to prepare or to mitigate, they are ultimately out of our control – immovable worries. If we can have faith in God for those immovable things we have little or no control over, then we can eliminate a lot of worry. Let’s consider a few things we have no control over.
On a grand scale, we have no control over world events, natural disasters, weather, universal financial collapse, wars, pestilences, famine, earthquakes, the Coming of Christ, or and most of the things we read about on the internet. On a human scale, we have no control over other people’s thoughts, emotions, actions, likes, dislikes, preferences, lifestyles, personalities, predilections, beliefs, intelligence, character, integrity, appearance, hygiene, dreams, or anything we generally gossip about. As I sit in this room, typing, I have no control over what is outside, who’s next door, or what’s overhead. The terrible possibilities are endless on the other side of my front door! Even in my own body, I cannot control a cold incubating in my chest, a blood clot headed for my brain. or a weak spot ready to burst on my aorta.
All of these issues are immovable and almost entirely out of our control. Worry is not a reasonable or rationale response, but faith is. Even atheists walk in faith regarding these things, for worrying about them is completely irrational. Why worry about things we cannot change? Of course, we mitigate the danger from some of these things, but we cannot truly control any of them. We really are helpless on a second-by-second basis, but we would drive ourselves insane if we dwelt on all of the possibilities, for no matter what we anxiously plan for, something worse can happen! Paul’s letter to the Philippians (4:6-7) sure makes a lot more sense in this context:
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on . . . which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” (Matthew 6:25-27)
Likewise, in Luke 12, Jesus describes the essential things in life, comparing them to things which can be burned up instantly or stolen or corroded before our eyes. He tells his disciples not to worry about any of it, “nor have an anxious mind.” (v. 29) There are simply too many things out of our control, and it can all be gone in an instant. Instead, Jesus encourages us to trust God with it all, for “your Father knows that you need these things.” (v. 30)
If we really think about it, The Worry Commandment is more than a free pass to us or about glorifying God. It is the only practical option. Faith is the only rational choice for most of life’s issues, because worrying about them is irrational. As followers of Jesus, we are commanded Do Not Worry, because this attribute helps set us apart from everyone else, but it is also sensible. Instead of worrying, He provides His alternative, “Seek the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you!” (v. 31). Our freedom to focus on serving God without worrying about the necessities of life will always be our most powerful witness to a lost and dying world . . . and it’s the only practical option.
Of course, this flies in the face of what we believe as people in leadership roles. We are self-reliant, self-made, and a little delusional. We think we have control over our lives, but one simple disaster can take away everything, and we will be powerless to stop it, as happened to Job in The Bible. This is why Jesus commands us, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matt 6:34).
The Apostle Paul asks a rhetorical question along the same lines in I Cortinthians 4:7, “What do you have that you did not receive?” I cannot identify anything in my life that I did not receive from someone or through someone else. According to the scripture, everything in our lives depends upon God’s provision, so worrying about it is pointless. We may have no control over these immoveable worries, but He has control over it all.
There is a very thin line separating worry from gratitude, anxiety from thankfulness: “in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Phil 4:6) Simply pray, make your requests, thank God for all He has done in your life. It is hard to be anxious after expressing our gratitude and thanks to God for His provision. A very thin line separates worry and gratitude, anxiety and appreciation, so step on over to the thankful side. Instead of worrying about of the things that could happen, let’s spend our days thanking God for all of the things He protects us from! I guess I should be thankful that a meteor has not landed on me.
Dear leader, when we worry about things we have no control over, we simply deceive ourselves and cause unnecessary harm to our bodies, minds, and spirits. Trace anything in our lives back to its source, and we find God Himself. Every aspect of our lives is built upon God’s providential grace, but we rarely think about it that way. Instead of focusing on immovable worries, let’s step across the worry line and thank Him for how much he protects us from every day. For many of our worries may be immovable to us, but none of them are immovable to God!
If this blessed you, please share with someone.
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