Summary: IN A SIMILAR FASHION, WE FOCUS ON OUR FEARS RATHER THAN ON OUR FAITH. We worry because we focus on our wants rather than our abundance.
Do you know the best way to swat a fly? According to the scientific journal NATURE the best way is to take a piece of tissue paper in each hand. Approach the fly from the left and right at the same time, keeping the hands equidistant from the fly and moving to and fro slightly. Then with both hands, simultaneously pounce. The advice is soundly grounded in "flyneuroscience." Dr. Edward Gray of England’s University College, London, writes: "The fly cannot cope with this situation, since its central nervous system circuitry is geared to avoid approaching movement in only one part of its visual field at a time. Two simultaneously approaching threats render the fly immobile, for its central nervous system now cannot compute at which angle to take off." (5) Many of us are like that poor fly. We feel like we have a million things racing through our minds. We feel overwhelmed, crushed by the weight of our responsibilities. We feel like things are coming at us from every direction and thus, like the fly, we become immobilized, not knowing which way to move.
In His book, filled with cosmic events like the creation of the universe, heaven and hell, the rise and fall of kingdoms, and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, He also considers it important to give us some help with this very ordinary human emotion. Why is that? Because He’s not just a God out there somewhere. He’s a God here, with us.
Why do we worry?
1. Life is hard. Bad things happen to good people, to bad people, and everyone in between.
Even the wealthy and powerful aren’t exempt. All you have to do is glance at the National Enquirer to see that they have their share of tragedy. [Example: Cleveland Browns linebacker Chris Spielman retiring due to a neck injury]
Now, so far this seems pretty depressing. But before we get to the really good news, we have to face the bad news. I live in a real world, and I want a religion that deals with reality. Don’t you? I don’t want a religion that plays, "let’s pretend." I want a faith that can stand up to whatever the world has to give, and still come out on top.
You may be saying, "Of course, life is hard. I already know that." But isn’t it amazing how often people try to avoid worry by pretending, by putting on blinders, by avoiding the issue, by refusing to acknowledge the possibility of anything going wrong. It’s like the song, "Don’t worry, be happy."
• We men are especially good at this. Our wives try to talk with us about something that’s obviously bothering us, and we say, "I don’t want to talk about it." Somehow, we think that if we don’t think about it, it won’t happen. Men don’t go to doctors. What we don’t know can’t hurt us.
• How many of you, when you are dealing with some serious problem, have had someone say, "don’t worry, I’m sure everything will work out."
"What will happen, will happen. Why worry about it?"
Of course, it doesn’t work, does it? All this does is transfer the worry from your mind to your gut.
The great comedian Carl Hurley tells the story about trying to throw a trash can away. He said it’s the one thing you can’t get the garbage man to pick up. He said, I set an old rusty garbage can out at the street one morning thinking the garbage man would understand that it needed to be thrown away. He said, when I came back that afternoon the can was stacked up with the rest of my empty trash cans.
Well the next week I put it out again and this time I turned it upside down so they could see that the bottom had several holes in it and it needed thrown away. When I cam home it was stacked up next to the empty cans again.
The next week I took a sledgehammer and I beat the can in pretty good and I left it out front and when I came home not only was it stacked up next to the other empty trash cans but the garbage man had actually tried to beat it back into shape.
And so he said finally I did the only thing I could do. I went to the hardware store and bought a heavy duty chain and a padlock and I chained the old can to a large tree in my front yard. And sure enough, that night somebody stole it.
Worry is a lot like that trash can. We know we need to get rid of it, but it’s not so easy to accomplish.
Helen Hayes was a famous American actress for many, many years ago. She and her husband had only one daughter. That daughter died at the age of 18 from polio. A few years later Helen’s husband died at a young age, however Helen lived to be in her eighties. When asked why her husband died at such an early age, she said it was because he could not get over asking why. He worried about their daughter’s death until it killed him.