Worry sucks............the life out of you

Do you remember when you were a little kid, playing all day without a care in the world. At least that's how it seemed at the time, right? I can recall in the summers leaving my house in the morning with  my two brothers and playing in the neighborhood all day, only returning home when we heard my mom call us in for supper. I didn't have a care in the world. All of my food, medical care, clothing, and housing were provided for me and I never gave it a second thought. I was a kid with not a care or worry in the world.

Fast forward a few decades and that kid is but a distant memory. I'm now married with four children of my own, shouldering responsibilities that I never dreamed of having. Taxes, bills, medical costs, clothing, and don't even ask me how much we spend on groceries. All of these add up and at some point in life another more sinister concern likes to jump on top of the pile - worry. Simply put, worry sucks. It sucks the life right out of you.

There are all sorts of ways to describe what worry is, but a broad way to define it would be "an all-consuming disposition brought about by the panic of not having what you believe you truly need." Worry typically sprouts up unannounced like weeds in a garden and often hits with lightning-fast speed. Whether its presence is caused by financial concerns, job stress, health-related issues, or relational crises, worry is an equal opportunity parasite.

So how do we handle worry, especially when it's brought upon us by the most dire of circumstances? That all depends on who you listen to. Some will advise you to tackle your problem head on, taking the bull by the horns and punching worry right in the face. Others relate the presence of worry to trust issues, insisting that you give over your concerns to those who can help you through them. While there is some sound advice in both of these approaches, Jesus gives us specific words to live by in Matthew 5:25-34 when it comes to fighting battles with worry.

Jesus begins with a startlingly simple statement: Don't worry. That's easy for Him to say, right? After all, He is God. Yet Jesus is never one to leave us hanging. His rationale for urging us to divorce ourselves from worry is based upon obvious reasons that are all around us if we will take the time to see them. Birds are all over the place and they don't have the ability to make a living in order to put food on the table, yet God provides all of their needs in nature. Wildflowers in a field don't have the capacity to make their own clothes, but it turns out they don't need to do so - God clothes them in beautiful splendor.

So far, Jesus has pretty much covered the basics of food and clothing. Then He drops a bomb on us: "If God is so gracious and loving to provide the basic needs of even the smallest of His creation, don't you think He will take care of you? Why is your faith so small?"

Ouch.

Jesus associates worry with lack of faith, and when we find ourselves running on that treadmill of hopelessness then we are no different than those who have no faith in Jesus at all. Anyone can say "What will I eat and drink?" or "What will I wear?" Only those who trust in the Lord know where those answers come from.

It's not so much an issue of can God provide - most of us who know Him will readily agree that He can do all things. No, the point of contention for many of us is "WILL He provide?", and it is at this point when worry creeps in and begins to make its home in us.

Jesus then hammers His main idea home:
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. (Matthew 6:33)
Seek God first. Before you pick up the phone and call your friends to moan to them about how bad things are for you. Before you make a rash decision to run to the bank and sink yourself deeper in debt. Before you risk the health of your relationships by trying to take matters into your own hands. Before anything.

We seek God first not because we aren't capable of doing anything for ourselves but rather because we are so limited in what we can accomplish at all. God is limitless and is able to do all things. He is not subject to the curse of worry. We are. And do you notice what happens when we seek Him first in all things, trusting Him through the hard times all the way down to our basic necessities? He provides for us, all of our needs. Worry can't do that.

Jesus finishes His discourse with a brilliant word that serves to reinforce just why we can trust God today to provide for our needs:
Therefore don't worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)
All worry can do is suck the joy out of your life. It is not productive, only destructive. When you find yourself in the midst of a worry pit step back for a moment, cry out to God, and give it Him. Trust Him with your needs. He is the only One who can give you complete joy and satisfaction in this world and beyond.

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