What's the Use of Worry?

By: Jill Briscoe

There are some good things about worry. First of all, worry gives us a chance to trust the Lord and turn our attention to the things that really matter. When I’m worried, it makes me pray and read my Bible more, and that’s all good! So anxiety can chase us back to God and give us a chance to turn our worries into prayer—if we let it. 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 Philippians 4:6: “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, 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? 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!

We must never underestimate the message God wants to send to a world of worriers watching us. 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.