TO WORRY OR NOT TO WORRY
By DANNY MINTON
When I closed my eyes last night, I did not worry about whether I would wake up this morning or not. That was not my choice. If I didn’t, I knew I would live with my Lord. If not, he has more plans for me ahead.
I am not worried about getting the flu, Coronavirus, cancer, or any other disease. I do what I can do to prevent it, but if I do, I’ll deal with it when the time comes.
I am not worried about who the next president might be. I know who I want, so I’ll cast my vote, the only one I have, and pray that God will help with the right choice. If the one I vote for doesn’t get in, I’ll deal with it then.
I am not worried about what others think of me. I’d like everyone to like me, but that won’t happen, so I just deal with those who don’t when we meet.
I’m not worried about the end of the world. I have no idea how or when God plans to unfold the end. I do know that I must be ready at a moment’s notice. So, I pray that I am.
I’m not worried if you don’t agree with what I write or say. Everyone has opinions and has a right to what they think. Opinions are opinions, and it’s okay if we think differently about some things.
Don’t get me wrong. I am concerned about things in this world, but I can only do so much where I stand. I’m one vote, one opinion, one actor in the play of life. I must do my part and expect everyone else to do theirs. In the end, however, the play is run by the director, he is the one who has the final say. Our director is God.
Over the years, I followed a philosophy about worry that I heard from various ministers in different ways.
- It may never happen
For several years a woman had been having trouble getting to sleep at night because she feared burglars. One night her husband heard a noise in the house, so he went downstairs to investigate. When he got there, he did find a burglar. “Good evening.” said the man of the house. “I am pleased to see you. Come upstairs and meet my wife. She has been waiting 10 years to meet you.”
Most of what we worry about will never happen. If it doesn’t, think of all the time and heartaches we’ve endured for nothing. On the other hand, if we are prepared, then there is no reason to worry.
- Tomorrow may never come
When Lincoln was on his way to Washington to be inaugurated, he spent some time in New York with Horace Greeley and told him an anecdote which was meant to be an answer to the question which everybody was asking him: “Are we really to have Civil War?” In his circuit-riding days, Lincoln and his companions, riding to the next session of court, had crossed many swollen rivers. But the Fox River was still ahead of them, and they said one to another, “If these streams give us so much trouble, how shall we get over Fox River?”
When darkness fell, they stopped for the night at a log tavern, where they fell in with the Methodist presiding elder of the district who rode through the country in all kinds of weather and knew all about the Fox River. They gathered about him and asked him about the present state of the river. “Oh, yes,” replied the circuit rider, “I know all about the Fox River. I have crossed it often and understand it well. But I have one fixed rule with regard to the Fox River, ‘I never cross it till I reach it.’” (unknown)
The best we can do is to be prepared for what lies ahead. If the Lord comes, then be ready. When we get to the river, understand we may have to cross over, but then maybe not. Plan for it, but don’t worry about it.
- We cannot change yesterday
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present” (Kung Foo Panda Teacher)
Okay, so we’ve made mistakes. Maybe we’ve hurt someone or done something we shouldn’t. We can’t go back and redo. We can’t change the past, but we can determine what we do today. Use today to make life better for tomorrow. “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 (NASB)
- Can you do something about it? Then do it!
Once when Alabama was playing Auburn, Coach Bear Bryant sent in his second string quarterback with instructions to run on every play, and he had better not pass the ball. Alabama led by three points and only had to run the clock out to win. Three downs in a row, Alabama was crushed. On the fourth down with a few seconds left and Alabama ahead, the quarterback took the snap. Looking into the end zone, he saw his receiver so open the temptation was too great. He threw the ball only to see it intercepted. Though he was the slowest player on the field, the second string quarterback ran down the interceptor, and Alabama won the game. After the game coach Dye of Auburn said to Bear Bryant, “How could that boy run down my boy who was so much faster?” “Simple,” answered Bear, “Your boy was running to score a touchdown – my boy was running to keep me from killing him!” (unknown)
If it is within your ability to do something about it, don’t worry about it, do it! Sitting around and worrying when you can act, gets you nowhere.
- If you can’t do anything about it, why worry?
The man sitting beside the stove in the little telegraph office dropped his newspaper as the person who had just handed in a message departed. “That’s one of those little places way up in the Northwest, isn’t it?” he asked. When the operator had assented, he continued: “Well, according to the papers, they’ve been having a terrible snowstorm up there lately—roads all blocked and everything. More than likely, the message will never reach the man it’s intended for after you’ve sent it.” The operator looked up impatiently. “I’m not running both ends of the line,” he said. “I’m only responsible for this end. Probably there’s someone at the other end who knows his business without my trying to carry his worries for him.” How many of our worries come from trying to take care of both ends of the line—our own and God’s? (Sunday School Times)
We should always keep in mind that we are never alone in this world. There is someone always watching over us and available anytime we need help. It takes little effort on our part to reach out to Him. All that is required of us is to ask for help. It’s that simple. The Apostle Peter wrote it down years ago, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NASB)
Did you catch that last phrase? Read it again and again and again. “He cares for you!” If we remember this one thing, it will help us make it through the days and nights without burdening ourselves with worry. As Jesus told us, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find reset for you souls.” Matthew 11:28-29 (NASB)
Learn to trust in God. After all, “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NASB)
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ