Why pray when you can worry?

Hundreds of opportunities- no, wait, make that, millions- are available to keep a person in a full state of anxiety. Just turn on your TV and be convinced! Here’s what I learned recently.

Terrorists are regrouping in Afghanistan and laying new plans for attacks on America. Multiple health problems are growing threats which could develop at any time in your body, especially if you’re like me, over 50! (Cut to ad for cholesterol reducing medication because high cholesterol comes from two sources, your food and your family, just ask your Dr.!) The stock market is down, along with real estate values. Could the economy be preparing for a major down turn, with lay-offs to follow? (Cut to ad from financial firm and learn that Roger has been making people secure since he was a kid.) The earth is allegedly warming and cataclysmic climate changes are certain to leave our coastal cities under water and our fertile farm land will turn into a desert that stretches from Minnesota to Mississippi! The most dangerous thing you will do today is drive. (Cut to ad for Swedish made vehicle which earned 5 stars in latest crash tests.) On the road with you are teenagers who lack skills and experience, trucks that are not properly maintained, and people talking on cell phones whose driving is impaired as much as if they had two alcoholic drinks. If they crash into your car, you may severely injured and unable to work – which will lead to your inability to pay your bills. (And, now it’s time for an ad featuring the AFLAC duck!) Maybe I should worry that I watch too much television.

Yes, friend, worry flourishes in the land of so many blessings. Geraldo, Hannity, and O’Reilly (and their fellow TV ‘news’ reporters) make a very good living by stoking our fears with whirling graphics, ominous music, and charts in vivid colors. All of the noise and fury of our media culture keeps most of us from realizing that on the whole we live amazingly good lives in a very wonderful society. It’s not Heaven, but most of our fears are tremendously overblown and exaggerated. (Read about The “Fear Industrial Complex” at http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2898636&page=1)

For the those times and situations in our lives that really do bring us anxiety, the Bible gives each of us a tremendously wonderful invitation. This passage is a mix of realistic appraisals of the threats we face and the resources we are richly provided for dealing with those threats. “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. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” (1 Peter 5:6-10, NKJV)

Jesus directs Believers to cease worrying and to choose to live under God’s rule, secure in His provisions for each day. A real case can be made that when we keep on worrying, we are disobedient and displease our Heavenly Father. A friend remarked to me in a prayer meeting, “Fear is sin!” I did not like his statement because it judged my heart! I argued with him, but the more I have thought about what he said, the more truth I realized it contains! I cannot control the arrival of thoughts that tempt to me to be afraid and/or to worry, but I do have a choice about what to do with those thoughts. I can persist in worry, which is an act of disobedience and therefore, sin; (Lord, I need forgiveness. Help me in my unbelief!) or I can prayerfully present those threats and needs to my Father and, according to the promise of the Word, enjoy the gift of the ‘peace of God which transcends human understanding.

What will you do with those things, big and small, that threaten your peace and security today?
Will you worry or will you pray?
Will you praise God that He is bigger than any trouble that could come into your life or will you try to be your own god and ‘manage the risks’ as you grow increasingly anxious?

I’m going to pray!

What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry,
everything to God in prayer.

Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry,
everything to God in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge,
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
thou wilt find a solace there.

-Joseph Scriven, Charles Converse, Public Domain

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