When it comes to membership in the human race, worry is part of the package. But it also proves to be a useless and unhealthy vice.
Corrie ten Boom used to recite a little couplet: “Worry is an old man with bended head, carrying a load of feathers which he thinks are lead.” She understood that anxiety is ultimately foolish because it concerns that which isn’t. It lives in a future that can’t be foreseen. It deals in what-if’s and could-be’s, speculation and possibility. As long as we dwell on the worst-case scenario, we guarantee our own misery, for an extensive catalog of calamity is always within reach of the imagination.
Worry is an unattractive thing, shabby, gloomy and careworn. But what does lightheartedness look like?
Jesus says in Matthew 6:28-30:
Have you walked through a beautiful garden in the springtime? It’s very difficult to be weighed down by the cares of the world when you’re surrounded by the majesty of God’s creation. Solomon was a glorious king, Jesus tells us, with the wealth of several kingdoms at his disposal. But all of his riches paled in comparison to the simplest lily in the field.
And how many office hours have those lilies put in? How many dues have they paid? Have you ever seen a lily suffering through an anxiety attack? They neither toil nor spin. They simply sway in the breeze, reaching heavenward toward the source of their water and sunshine and sustenance. They do neither more nor less than they were designed to do, and what they were designed to do is to glorify God. May you and I glorify God with the same simple eloquence.
Yet the greater point is that God values you so much more than a lily. The lily is merely something He created for your pleasure, for you’re the one that bears His image. If He cares for each petal or stem that blooms and fades within a season, how much more does He care for you? How much does He take to heart the things that cause you anxiety?
He took the answer to that question and displayed it on a cross two thousand years ago. He would never suffer and die for the same children He planned to neglect.
And God reminds us of this truth over and over again in Scripture. When the enemies of worry and anxiety attack, we can hold fast to these promises and encouragements from God’s Word (and many more!) to win the battle:
As your days, so shall your strength be.
Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.
Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 5:7
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?