It really helps me to know that anxiety is forbidden. “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1), counseled Jesus. I have noticed that worry and fear are near allies. Jesus tells us not to let worry dominate our lives. Don’t let it? That means we can do something to stop it—and that something is trust. The act of not letting worry dominate us but rather letting the peace of God dominate us is a learned art—a spiritual art.
Fearing for your life is forbidden by Jesus. In Matthew 6:27, Jesus asks, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” You can go to the grave having worried about all the days you weren’t going to live and have the opportunity to worry about! In fact, some of us will go to the grave having worried about keeping ourselves alive until the moment comes. It’s such a freeing thing to trust God with that. Put it in His backpack.
To the people of His day—and to us today—Jesus declared, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (Matt. 6:34). If you trust, you do not worry; if you worry, you do not trust. Ask the Lord for the grace to trust Him.
When Stuart and I travel, particularly in England, we love to wander through English graveyards. Epitaphs are a source of interest and wonder to us. Just a line or two on a gravestone sets you wondering why that sentence was chosen to summarize the life of the one in the grave. Here are a couple of my favorites: “Here lies a man who went out of the world without ever knowing why he came into it!” That’s sad. And another: “Here lies the Reverend so-and-so, who served God without enthusiasm—a Puritan’s grave! I have often wondered about my own gravestone. I don’t want someone to sum up my life with, “Here lies Jill Briscoe, who worried herself to death.”
We know that worry is a precursor of many physical problems. It is also evidence of all sorts of spiritual problems. For whatever is a lack of faith is sin. I would like to have my epitaph read, “Here lies Jill Briscoe, who overcame worry and fear with faith and helped others to do the same.” I’m working on making this statement true in my life.
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