Summary: In a world filled with worry, Solomon calls us to trust in the Lord.
For many people anxiety or worry is a big problem. Dr. Richard Leahy, a psychologist and anxiety specialist said a few years ago: “The average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950’s”.
You find anxiety in a hospital waiting room, a courtroom, the first day on a job, getting ready for a first date, choosing a college, trying to pay a mountain of bills with an anthill of resources, driving in a fierce storm, or even driving in a location that is unfamiliar to you (and seems to be unknown by your GPS). Worry is a problem to which Christians are not immune.
Counselor Les Carter writes,
Worry can be defined as a feeling of apprehension, distress, or uneasiness, usually related to an anticipated event. Interestingly, our word worry originates from an Anglo-Saxon root word that means “to strangle or give pain.” This implies that worry can literally paralyze us, sapping our energy and strength.
People who worry are not merely concerned about their present and future circumstances; they have a mental agenda of the way things must occur. The worrier’s mind is so captivated by what ought or ought not to be, that he can only respond with duress and despair when situations displease him.
That last statement is powerful “The worrier’s mind is so captivated by what ought or ought not to be, that he can only respond with duress and despair when situations displease him. In other words, we form a picture in our head of what should happen that is so fixed that if it doesn’t happen, we don’t know how to handle it. There is probably some area of your life where that touches on your experience.
This morning we are going to look at the Bible’s antidote to worry. To do this we will look at the best known verses of Proverbs and one of the most frequently quoted texts in the Bible. The prescription is both simple and profound.
In Proverbs 3:5-8 we are given a prescription for overcoming worry, anxiety and fear. Look at verses 5 and 6 carefully. There are four verbs. Three are commands for us. One is a verb describing what God will do.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
7 Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
8 Then you will have healing for your body
and strength for your bones.
The three verbs that are commands are: Trust, depend, and seek. The promise is “He will show you which path to take” Verses 7 and 8 amplify on these commands. Let’s take them one at a time.
Trust. Solomon says we are to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” One Puritan writer shares this insight, “Man is a trusting creature: he is always leaning on some object. So deep is his consciousness of dependence, that he dares not stand alone.” In other words we all trust something. Solomon says we should make sure our trust is in the Lord.