Monday, September 12, 2011

How Not to Worry

I know it’s pointless to tell someone not to worry. When I’m facing a problem I can’t solve, it doesn’t matter that I know I should trust God instead of worrying. I can’t help thinking about the problem and what will happen if it isn’t solved. I know I should just give it to God, but it’s hard to just let go.

Paul offers a practical way to stop worrying. First pray about it. In fact, pray about everything. Then thank God for what He’s already done for me. Thanksgiving and worry are mutually exclusive. If I’m thankful, I won’t worry.

There are lots of kinds of prayer, but these scriptures talk about two specific ones as antidotes to worry.

First is the prayer of supplication; tell Him what you need. I think this kind of prayer is the easiest. I tend to spend a lot of time asking God for things. But when I’m worrying, my prayers are a bit frantic and disorganized. I beg God to take care of the problem without a lot of thought. Since worry is both emotional and mental, maybe I should take some time to write down what the problem is and then list what I need to resolve it. Then present God with the list. It may not be what God plans to do, but it will help me pray more coherently.

Wayne is out of work and our checkbook balance is shrinking. We need a certain amount of money to pay our bills. Wayne needs productive and rewarding work that won’t cause back problems. I can tell God that, then wait for Him to act as He will.

The next kind of prayer is one of thanksgiving; thank Him for what He has already done. This should be the easiest and most frequent prayer. In fact, if I really tried, I’d probably spend all day thanking God.

I’ll start by thanking Him for salvation. That puts everything else into perspective. Then I’ll list the things He’s done for me that are similar to the one I’m worrying about. God has always provided a home, food, clothes, transportation, and jobs. In fact, He has always provided more than we need. I’ll thank Him that my checkbook has a balance. That I live in a beautiful house. That I have so much to eat I have a weight problem. That Wayne has this time for his back to heal. And that’s just the beginning of things I should be thankful for.

When I thank God, it should be in the name of Jesus who already gave me life by the sacrifice of His death. Remembering that, how can I not believe He will give me everything I need, solve every problem, resolve every situation?

God is good. When I thank Him, I can trust Him and not worry.

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