Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
A 95-year-old woman at the nursing home received a visit from one of her fellow church members. How are you feeling? the visitor asked. Oh, said the lady, I’m just worried sick! Her friend asked, What are you worried about, dear? You look rather well and healthy today. Are they taking good care of you here?
- Oh, yes, they’re taking very good care of me.
- Are you in any pain?
- No, I’m not in any pain at all.
- Well then, what are you worried about? her friend asked again.
The lady leaned back in her rocking chair, sighed a heavy sigh, then slowly explained her major worry. Every close friend I ever had has already died and gone on to heaven. I’m afraid they’re all wondering where I went.
Worry Empties Today of Strength
I think it’s an amusing story—but the theme of worry is not so funny. The world is full of people like you and me who worry about everything. Each day becomes a problem because of the worries that day brings, and of the future. I want to say that God’s Word—the Bible—has answers for us. King David wrote, “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4) I’m sure a lot of people want the Lord to get rid of all their fears.
The word ‘worry’ in Greek means to be divided. The Greek word (merimnao) is formed by two root words ‘divided’ and ‘mind’. To worry means to be pulled in many different directions. Is that how you feel: pulled in different directions? First one fear pulls you one direction, then another fear pulls you in another direction. It is even possible to have hope, then, pull you in another direction still.
Back and forth your mind goes as it clicks into high gear. If we keep this up we soon get pulled apart; we can literally worry ourselves sick. Have you ever felt yourself pulled apart by worry? It’s common knowledge that worry causes a lot of physical ailments including loss of sleep, disabling headaches, stomach ulcers, even some heart issues are caused by worry.
Corrie ten Boom once said, “Worry doesn’t empty tomorrow of sorrows; it empties today of strength.” Someone else has said, “Worry is a thin stream of fear that trickles through the mind, which, if encouraged, will make a channel so wide that all other thoughts will be drained out.” What’s your biggest worry right now?
Worry Is a Bad Investment
Can I say that worry is a bad investment, and Jesus had some good words and advice for us. In Matthew 6:26-33 (CEV) we read he said:
Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t plant or harvest. They don’t even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren’t you worth more than birds?
Can worry make you live longer? Why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow. They don’t work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn’t as well clothed as one of them. God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. He will surely do even more for you! Why do you have such little faith?
Don’t worry and ask yourselves, “Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear? Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of these. But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what He wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.
You see, worry doesn’t add; it subtracts—verse 27 says, “Can worry make you live longer?” Worry is a useless thing—it will not add an inch to your height or an hour to your life. The simple truth is that worrying doesn’t add; in fact it subtracts from your life. It can subtract hours from your day, but even more it can subtract days, months and years from your life.
Worry is a bad investment of time and energy no matter how you look at it. Worry will not make us live longer; or better; or smarter. But worry will rob us of our joy, our peace and our contentment.
(To be continued in Why Worry? – Part 2)