“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;”
“Be anxious for nothing”
The world utters pious platitudes: Keep a stiff upper lip; Don’t worry, Be happy; Keep smiling. None of these clichés get to the heart of anxiety.
The word “anxious” is the common word in the gospels for harassing care,
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.” (Mt. 6:25).
“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin.” (Mt. 6:28).
“Therefore do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘what shall we drink’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ (Mt. 6:31).
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about is own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Mt. 6:34).
Most of us worry about things that will never happen. We worry because we do not have a date. Then we worry because she is not the right kind of date. Then we worry that some other person will steal her from us. We worry that we do not have a car. Then we worry that we do not have enough money for the payments or that someone will scratch our fender. We worry ourselves into oblivion.
Worry is a device of the devil. It is a sin that assaults a proper view of the person and work of God. We worry due to a sense of inadequacy. So we try to bring circumstances under our control. We ultimately conclude we cannot bring life under our control. When we realize that we cannot bring circumstances under our control, we worry. If we do not have the funds to pay our bills, we worry. When someone asks us to do something beyond what we feel is our capacity, we worry. A student will worry about exams when he is not prepared. Some students will worry about exams even if they are prepared.
Worry is the attempt to predict the future. It is an attempt to control circumstances. It plays the role of God.
Worry is futile because it never changes anything. However, trust in God’s sovereignty will change us. It will free us from anxiety. The issue is no longer our adequacy but God’s adequacy.