“The Worry Cure” Mathew 6:25-34
One day I had taken my son Sebastian to a park to play. At one point while we were at the park I was repeatedly throwing him in the air and catching him just before he hit the ground. Sebastian was completely relaxed and having a great time, laughing and laughing every time I would catch him.
On this particular day, there was a young woman watching me playing with Sebastian. She asked me, “Can you explain why he’s so relaxed, even when he’s so out of control? If it was me I would be worried stiff!” She said. I replied to her “It’s very simple, we have a history together. We’ve played this game before, and I’ve never dropped him.”
Sebastian has full confidence that I will not let him fall. As a result, he has placed his full and complete confidence in me. Even at times when we aren’t sure how, our Heavenly Father is always waiting to catch us. He, who holds the future in His hands, holds our hand in His.
So often in this life which is filled with turmoil, struggles, commitments, and deadlines we find ourselves feeling very much like a child who has been thrown into the air. Only, we aren’t sure if there will be anyone there to catch us. Far too often, I’m afraid, we find ourselves in bondage to worry, captives to fear.
According to a poll that I found, 40% of an average person’s anxiety is focused on
things that will never happen, 30% on things about the past that can’t be changed, 12% on things about criticism by others, mostly untrue, 10% about health, which gets worse with stress, and only 8% of worry is about real problems that will be faced.
Worry, it has been said, is interest paid on a debt not yet owed. Worry never changed one circumstance from bad to good, though it often makes things worse. The truly destructive power of worry is that it clouds our judgment. Instead of aiding us in finding the solution to our problem or concern, worry has a way of compounding the problem until it’s all we can see.
Worry is like fog. I’m told that a fog that can cover up to seven blocks contains less than one glassful of water. Fog is a lot of smoke and almost no substance. It’s the same with worry. It’s like a rocking chair, taking you back and forth but never getting you anywhere.
A story is told about a woman who for many years couldn’t sleep at night because she worried that her home would be burglarized. One night her husband heard a noise in the house, so he went downstairs to investigate.
When he got there, he found a burglar. The husband said to the burglar, “Come upstairs and meet my wife. She has been waiting 10 years to meet you.”
A real burglar can steal from you once; worry can steal from you night after night, for many years. Worry not only steals our sleep, but worry also steals our health and our abilities to cope with life productively.
In Mathew 6:25-34 Jesus tells us not to worry, but to place our trust completely in God… This morning we’ll examine this passage of scripture and discover three principals which we can take with us to treat worry and also discover the central theme in the cure for worry.
1. We Serve a Faithful God (v.25-30)
So often we are defeated by worry because we are not aware of the power of God in our lives. So often, you and I mope through this life as though we are going through it alone. When we try to live in our own power this life will always seem overwhelming.
Sometimes the concerns of this life really are more than we can bear… alone… but we are not alone. We serve a faithful God who has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) As we place our trust in God we find freedom from worry. As we abandon our limited perspective, in favor of God’s limitless perspective we can be set free from worry.
Corrie Ten Boom wrote, “When I worry I go to the mirror and say to myself, ‘This tremendous thing which is worrying me is beyond a solution. It is especially too hard for Jesus Christ to handle.’ After I have said that, I smile and I am ashamed.”
How often do we look at our circumstances and doubt God’s ability to or willingness to intervene on our behalf? If we are honest, I think we will all have to say that occasionally, if not most of the time, we live as though we aren’t really sure if God is faithful.
According to an ancient Hebrew story, a rabbi was forced by persecution to leave his homeland and to wander about in distant countries. His only earthly possessions, other than the clothing he wore and a copy of the Scriptures, were a lamp by which he studied and a donkey upon which he rode.
Late one evening, after a long day’s journey, he came upon a small village where he sought shelter for the night. The villagers, however, turned him away. The only shelter this weary rabbi was able to find was next to a wall which surrounded a well on the outskirts of the village.
Trying to make the best of the situation, he lit his lamp and began to read from the Scriptures. Soon a violent wind arose and repeatedly blew out the lamp. Unable to read in the darkness, he reclined against the wall and tried to go to sleep.
His rest was soon disturbed, however, by the nearby roar of a lion. He looked over the wall just in time to see the lion dragging his slaughtered donkey into the underbrush.
The rabbi was overwhelmed with distress, grief, and a sense of self-pity. He tried praying to God, but his prayers were hindered by the many complaints and embittered sentiments which kept going through his mind. Finally, in exhaustion, he fell into a deep sleep.
The next morning, upon awaking and coming from behind the shelter of the wall, he beheld a shocking sight. On the streets of the village lay the mutilated bodies of the villagers; slain by a vicious band of marauders who had descended from the hills during the night.
It was only then that the rabbi began to understand, and to put his losses in perspective. If the villagers had received him, he also would have been killed. If the lion had not killed and dragged away his donkey, its presence may have given him away. He had learned a valuable lesson: God’s faithfulness doesn’t always come in the way we expect it, but it comes nonetheless.
2. We Are God’s Children (v.31-32)
So many Children of God go through this life as though God is someone to fear more than He is someone to love. If we are going to be set free from worry we are going to have to learn to view ourselves the way that God does.
You are not an orphan of a beggar; you are a child of the King.
If we are to learn to live a life free from worry, we have to remember that God is our loving Father and he wants the best for His children. Matthew 10:29-31 says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. “(ESV)
The story is told of the ship that was trapped in a severe storm at sea. All were preparing to abandon ship, all except one young lady who was playing with her dolls. When asked if she were not afraid, she calmly replied, “No, because my father is the captain.”
When the storms of life seem to trap us, let us learn to keep our eyes upon the sparrow and to say, “I am not afraid because the Captain is my Father!” Today, learn to let go of fear and worry, your Heavenly Father is in command!
3. We Are Called to Seek the Kingdom (v.33-34)
Seeking after the kingdom is a matter of perspective. Most of the time we are so caught up in the business of our lives that we don’t slow down long enough to even decide what it means to be kingdom people… followers of the Master of Mercy, Jesus Christ.
Luke 9:23, “And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (ESV) Learning to trust God and let go of worry is a daily decision… and while it may sound easy, it isn’t.
Every day we have to make a choice about how we are going to spend the day that God has given us. Are we going to be filled with anxiety as over and over again, we contemplate the enormity of our troubles? Or are we going to seek first the Kingdom and leave the rest to God?
The guiding principal in all of this is trust. Jesus is telling us to stop trusting in our selves and place our trust in God. When we rely on our own strength and abilities the natural outcome is a life filled with worry. When we place our trust in the only one who can truly sustain us, then we are freed to live
My favorite way of illustrating [trust] is to recount what I’m told is a true story. I don’t know that it is, but I’ve read in several places that it is. A famous tightrope walker once strung a cable across Niagara Falls from the American side all the way to the Canadian side.
To the applause of thousands of people, he would walk across that tightrope right on the very edge of the falls, the rushing, cascading waters thundering underneath him. He would walk back and forth, people applauding wildly. Then to further wow the crowds, he would put a blindfold on and go back and forth.
Then he would ride a bicycle back and forth, and then he would push a wheelbarrow back and forth. Every day, people came out to watch him. He quite simply was the greatest.
As the story goes, one day while pushing the wheelbarrow back and forth, he called out to the crowd on one end, inquiring whether or not they thought he could successfully push the wheelbarrow across with a human being riding in the wheelbarrow.
The crowd went berserk: “Surely you can. You’re remarkable. We’ve watched you for days. We understand and appreciate your skills. We believe in your abilities. You are the greatest.” On and on they went, to which he responded, “Then someone volunteer.
You come right up here, single file, form a line, and get in the wheelbarrow to prove your trust in my ability.” A deafening silence overtook the crowd. There were no takers.
Today, I encourage you take God at His word. Place your trust in Him alone to sustain your needs. Learn to be free from worry as you place your trust in God.
Let us pray.