The Other Side of Worry
There are some good things about worry. When I am worried, it makes me pray and read my Bible more, and that’s all good! So anxiety chases us back to God and gives us a chance to turn our worries into prayer. Second, a worrying situation is a good heart check. It makes me ask myself how my spiritual health is. What is my heart focus? Just who is at the center of my life? Around what does my universe revolve?
I love Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of Phil. 4:6 in The Message: “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness and of everything coming together for good will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” But for Christ to displace worry at the center of my life, I need to turn first to Him when trouble starts.
Where do I fly to when I am alerted to some gloomy thing threatening me or someone I love? The church, the pastor, my best friend, my children, husband, wife, or God? Whose arms do I fly to first? The answer to that question will in all probability tell me—and those watching me—just who is at the center of my life!
There was a little girl on a train, journeying down England. The passengers were entertained by the friendly youngster, who seemed quite at home with all the passengers in the car. In fact, people began to wonder just who her mother and father were, as she seemed at home with everyone. Then the train gave a shrill whistle and entered a long, dark tunnel, and the little girl suddenly became anxious. She ran down the aisle and threw herself into the arms of a young man at the rear of the car. People smiled. Now there was no doubt as to whom the child belonged! She was seen to be happy and safe in her father’s arms. Her joy was evident and overflowing. She was still in the tunnel—still in the dark—nothing had changed outside her life, but all was changed inside her life.
There are good things about the situations that make us anxious as we enter the tunnels of trouble along life’s track. We are forced to fly into our Father’s arms and thereby prove to ourselves, as well as to those around, just who it is we belong to, whom we love, and who it is who gives us joy on the journey—even while we are still in the darkest of tunnels.
We must never underestimate the message God wants to send to a world of worriers who are watching us, either. He wants to show those worriers by our attitude and actions that even when we have a good cause to worry, God can handle it and us! He can take the bad worry and turn it into something useful!
Jill Briscoe is the Founder and Executive Editor of Just Between Us magazine and ministry.