I dare say that many of us have spent a great deal of time lately worrying. And what I’ve discovered is that worrying is exhausting…both mentally, physically, and spiritually. But what I also must admit – is that worrying is very counter-productive, doesn’t change anything, and only produces apprehension within me. But there’s something else worrying creates and Psalm 37:8 talks about it…”Do not fret – it leads only to evil.” The Greek word for “evil” here means harm and/or unbelief. In other words, when I worry, I’m telling God I don’t trust Him. Ouch! In this verse Jesus was telling His disciples to focus on Him, not the temporal…to concentrate on the eternal, not the material. Oswald Chambers summed this up well when he wrote, “God doesn’t give us overcoming life…He gives us life as we overcome.”
Psalm 13 is short…just 6 verses, but within it are emotions we’ve all felt. For Satan would like us to believe that when we’re going through desperate times…it’s because God has abandoned us. David laments to the Lord in the first few verses, using words like, “Have You forgotten me? And why are You hiding Your face?” Those raw feelings of doubt and questioning where God is only compound the sorrow, anxiety, and distress we already feel. To the point we’re asking, “Do You even care about me anymore, God?” But as David lifts this lament to God, his focus changes from himself and his situation, to who God really is and His promises. For at the end of Psalm 13 David declares, ” But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me.” (Psalm 13: 5-6) The grief and heartbreak may not have changed in David’s life…but what did change was his perspective and the assurance that God was still there.
Angels of the Lord had warned Lot and his family of the impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah… and to flee and not look back. But even with the warning…Lot’s wife still turned back towards what once had been her life and lost it. Jesus also reminds us of this in Luke 17:32, when He told His disciples, “Don’t go back.” So why are we so prone to do exactly what the Lord tells us not to? When our fear of the unknown outweighs our faith in God…we go back. And when anxiety supersedes what we know in our heart to be true, our mind goes back to familiar coping mechanisms…allowing fear to crowd out our confidence in God.
In our minds, we’d love to have it…the perfect Christmas, complete with bells and mistletoe, gifts and family. But it usually doesn’t work out that way, and in the weeks leading up to Christmas stress takes over and we find ourselves focused on the wrong things. We’re worshipping the problems by worrying…we’re devoting ourselves to a crazy schedule out of desperation…and we’re putting up on a pedestal the to-do list only we think must get done. Quit fretting and stewing over the small stuff…Christmas will happen with or without every detail being done and it will be perfect in its imperfect way. For if you think about it…there has been only one “perfect” Christmas…and it happened in all places – a cow shed.
How much time do I squander away worrying? I’d hate to count up the minutes I spend stressing over the most stupid things…worse case scenarios that 99.9% of the time never happen. Rather than worrying, we should be worshiping…rather than glorifying our anxiety, we should be exalting the Lord. For God has kept His promises to us in the past…and He’s not going to stop now.
When I start to worry and fret over something, the Lord will interrupt my little party with…”Have you prayed about this?” Then He’ll ask, ” What is the best thing you can do about it?” This will abruptly take my focus off me and put it where it needs to be. By giving the burden to the Lord in prayer, I can then gain calming understanding and discernment over the matter…and with peace and a clear head, I can look at this thing that’s been causing so much anxiety within me and view it much more objectively. Sometimes, the best thing I can do is just pray…but there are times when the Lord will open my eyes to an opportunity where I can make a difference.