Worry’s Antidote

Do you have a solution for worry? 

In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, he tells us not to worry about our lives – what we are to eat, drink or wear.  As God provides food for the birds and décor for the flowers, he will surely provide for us.  He then says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and “all these things will be given to you as well.”  (Mt. 6:33)

The variety and subject of our worry is almost endless.  We can worry about our health, jobs, the well-being of loved ones, and what people think of us.  It is not uncommon to worry about all the preparations for a wedding or other big event, only to see them take place with our later wondering what all the worry was about.  I worry about how long it will take to get through security lines when flying, so I have made it a practice in recent years to get to the airport far earlier than may be necessary.

Peter Kreeft in his book, After Virtue, reverses Jesus’ statement about seeking the kingdom.  “Unless we seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, all these things will not be added to us.”  If we are not seeking God, we are in effect separating ourselves from him, which means we are relying solely on ourselves.  God is not then present to assist or backup our efforts.  “Doing it my way” may sound good for a popular song, but it is unlikely to result in our being part of God’s kingdom with the accompanying benefits of his wisdom, counsel, truth, courage, faith, hope and love. 

While God expects us to do our part in providing for our daily lives, he is absolutely scrupulous about respecting our freedom to choose in seeking or not seeking to be a part of his kingdom.  When I look back on the greatest opportunities for worry in my life, I thank God that he was present so I was not relying solely on my own resources when our youngest daughter underwent open heart surgery at age four.  I thank God that I was not relying only on my own pro and con list when making a major job decision impacting our family.

Seeking God’s kingdom along with his guidance and assistance requires faith, detachment and contentment.  We need faith in his love for us, trust in his provision, and hope in an outcome that often has eternal ramifications.  We need detachment from trying to control the timing, means and outcome to the solutions for our worry.  We need contentment in willingly submitting to God’s way instead of “my way.”   

When Martha complained to Jesus about Mary not helping her in the preparations for Jesus’ visit, Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better.” (Luke 10:41-42)  Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to him.

Spending time at Jesus’ feet and listening to him is the best antidote for worry.

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2 thoughts on “Worry’s Antidote

  1. Steve Bergeron

    I heard a talk recently, by Bishop Robert Barron, that touched on this topic. Not so much about worry, but he was talking about the prosperity gospel that some evangelicals believe. All through the Bible, God promises that He’ll take care of those who are righteous and put Him first. And, this is true. But…it does not necessarily mean that God will give us the things we desire of this world, i.e., material things. How do we know this? Just read the book of Job. Job was a righteous man, following God’s will, etc. Yet, he had everything taken from him. His family, his home, his wealth, etc. Everything. His friends came over and sat with him for a week in silence, before asking him what must he have done to offend God. And, the answer was “Nothing!” So, God must reward us in other ways, such as inner peace and joy, His grace, His countenance shining upon us. But, not material goods, which could certainly distract us from the one thing, the one goal that we should be working for…Him.

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