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The year was 1988 when a song
written by Bobby McFerrin hit the airwaves, entitled, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”
This light-hearted, toe-tapping tune was an instant hit. T-shirts were worn
with the song’s title and slogan emblazoned for all to see. Though the song was
catchy, I never paid attention to the lyrics before.
Worrying seems to be a part
of the universal human condition. I have known far too many people, some in my
own family, who firmly believe that the act of worry is their right. That they
were born to worry. A wayward child, a lost job, needing a new car, a failing
marriage, and so on creates an environment in the soul that is ripe for worry.
The first verse in the song,
“Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” is profound in its understanding of our human dilemma.
“In every life we have some trouble. When
you worry you make it double.” That line sums up the problem of worry: when
you worry about someone or something, you are unable to help that person, that
problem, or yourself. All the fussing and hand-wringing in the world does not
alter the problem one iota. Truth be told – worry makes things worse. As the
song says, worry causes your trouble to double!
As a pastor, I often found
myself addressing this stumbling block in the lives of many people who profess
to know and love Jesus. The compulsion to worry is a faith killer. What do I
mean by that? Worry stabs at the heart of trust. Too often we chuckle at the
person who always worries about something. There are even those who would
create something to worry about, if necessary!
This is not intended to have
some sort of Pollyannaish approach to life. Instead, I have learned to turn
every care, concern, trouble, and worry over to the One who can thoroughly
handle that which plagues me.
Let’s take a look at why
worry is a faith killer. God created us to be in a relationship with him. Any
relationship we have demands a certain degree of trust. I trust that the clerk
at the store is charging me the right prices when I buy my groceries. I trust
that the gasoline I put in my car has been processed properly. I trust the
elevator company in the high-rise will run as designed, safely transporting me
to my desired floor. I trust the pilot to fly the plane safely to my desired
destination. I even have to trust other drivers to obey the traffic laws.
So, let me use an apologetic
approach to this argument. Since I believe that God loves me, and that he sent
his Son, Jesus, to die for my sins, then I am fully accepting that my life is
completely in his hands. It then stands to reason that I should be able to
fully trust God with my life and everything that takes place throughout my
life. God has made it very clear in his word, the Bible, that I am to trust him
implicitly in all things, and any act of worry on my part is a red flag
announcing that I don’t really trust God to handle my problem.
Lest you think this is
overly simplistic, I would then challenge you to prove the Bible says it’s okay
for you to worry. Since that is not possible, let me tell you what the Bible
says about not worrying.
In the Sermon on the Mount,
Matthew 6, Jesus says, “Therefore I tell
you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your
body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than
clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in
barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable
than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
The Apostle Paul wrote to
the believers in Philippi (Greece), these words about their many anxieties and
worries. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I
will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is
near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and
petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of
God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds
in Christ Jesus.”
Worry is an all-out attack
on your heart and mind, make no mistake about it. When you find yourself
falling into the worry-trap, turn it all over to Jesus. Worry is a burden you
were never designed to carry. Jesus can handle any and all problems you have.