Summary: This message was designed to help its audience understand how worry runs contrary to God’s will for our lives. It is intended to encourage people to let God build their lives free from the anxiety that saps our lives away one crisis at a time.
Worry – The Life Stealer
April 14, 2002
Last week we spent some time talking about rest and how important rest is to us. We discovered that not only did Jesus set an example of rest for us, but that even God Himself rested on the seventh day and consecrated it. But the truth is rest can often be difficult to do. Life is busy, are lives are a never-ending stream of activities and responsibilities. It kind of reminds me of the times I would hike up in the mountains surrounding Phoenix as a kid. Upon reaching the top of the mountain I would take in the incredible vista of Phoenix stretching out before me in every direction. Then, after catching my breath, I would begin to jog down the mountainside, the only problem was, my easy pace would soon turn into a full-blown sprint. It took every bit of my concentration to avoid colliding with a Saguaro cactus. I would have to time my jumps over granite boulders and duck at just the right time in order to avoid catching a Palo Verde branch in the face. If I was lucky, I would end up at the bottom of the mountain with blood oozing from the numerous lacerations on my legs given to me by the creosote bushes and smaller cactus on the way down.
One thing that never changed was the process of descending a desert mountain. Try as I might, once my body had been captured by gravity, I simply could not slow down the pace. I remember one time, my best friend and I were in Wickenburg, Arizona for a Bluegrass Festival. At one point Steve and I decided to hike up the mountain which stood behind the grandstands. It wasn’t a particularly formidable mountain, but it was a rocky one. Once Steve and I reached the summit we began the traditional race to the base. I spied what I thought was a strategic route to the bottom and broke away from my challenger. About half way down the mountain, I began to realize that I had not seen far enough down my chosen route which was quickly turning into a boulder-strewn nightmare dotted with Teddy Bear cactus otherwise known as Jumping cactus.
As I came to lying in the creek bed, the last thing I remembered was Steve laughing hysterically at me as I went airborne having tripped over a particularly large rock. I was a mess. My legs were shredded, my ankle was severely sprained and I failed to make cuts for the basketball team because I couldn’t perform well enough on a swollen ankle.
I share this story because it illustrates exactly how worry impacts our lives. Worry has a type of gravity which pulls us from the high places in life. No sooner does God grant us a victory or a blessing then worry begins pulling us down with its relentless gravity. We may resist at first with every bit of strength we have, but try as we might, we are simply cannot put on the brakes. Before long we find ourselves sprinting down the mountain towards the pits of anxiety.
Stress, anxiety, nervousness, fretfulness, worry… call it what you will, in the end its all the same. You can even put a spin on it and call it concern, but the bottom line is worry steals our life away one crisis at a time. There are many monsters that stalk us with the objective of sapping away our joy, our peace and our strength, but perhaps none is more effective than worry. You see, while we may spot and evade many of those other monsters, we actually invite worry right into our living rooms.
And while we sit and entertain worry, he subtly wraps us up in his coils until we can no longer move. As those coils draw ever tighter, we eventually suffocate unable to breathe. Worry is a killer. Despite know this, we still choose to worry don’t we? It’s sometimes funny to think of how we deal with worry.
Mary C. Crowley once said, “Every evening I turn worries over to God. He’s going to be up all night anyway.”
Walter Kelly was overheard saying, “When I don’t have anything to worry about, I begin to worry about that.”
I am reminded of a story. For several years a woman had been having trouble getting to sleep at night because she feared burglars. One night her husband heard a noise in the house, so he went downstairs to investigate. When he got there, lo and behold, he found a burglar. “Good evening,” said the man of the house. “I am pleased to see you. Come upstairs and meet my wife. She’s been waiting 10 years to meet you.”