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Why Be Happy When You Can Worry?


Sorry for the sarcasm in the title, but I just couldn’t (didn’t) pass it up.

Do you remember the Bobby McFerrin song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”? When it hit the top of the charts, it was criticized as being too simplistic and naive. But it expresses some very important sentiments.

Think about it for a minute. Of all the living things that God created, human beings are the only ones that worry. And we worry about everything – fuel prices, the stock market, our jobs, paying our bills, our marriages, our relationships; parents worry about children, and children worry about parents. You name it; somebody is worrying about it right now. Maybe even you.

One guy, John, a ‘worrywart’, hired his laid-back friend Joe for a special job. Joe had to think about all of the troubles affecting John’s life, and any that might affect him in the future, and worry about them. John paid Joe $1,000 a week to be his worrier. When John was asked, ‘Don’t you worry about having $1,000 a week to pay Joe?’ he responded ‘No! That’s what I pay Joe for.’

The most basic New Testament word used for worry means ‘to be anxious, to be distracted, to have a divided mind.’ It’s the word in Matthew 6:25 where Jesus said, ‘Do not worry about your life’. And Paul used it when he wrote, ‘Be anxious for nothing’ (Philippians 4:6).

Worry also is a feeling of uneasiness, apprehension, or dread, usually about something that may happen in the future. Let’s be honest. Everyone worries and those who say they don’t are in a state of denial. Worriers live in the future. They spend a great amount of time speculating on what might occur, and then fearing the worst.

I remember as a boy my mother would often say that she was ‘worried sick’ about this or that thing. I saw how it affected her and drained her of a lot of emotional and physical energy. I recently came across these figures from a recent survey. This survey said 40% of the things we worry about never happen; another 30% of our worries are in the past, and we can’t do anything about them. 12% concern other people, and are none of our business anyway. 10% are about the sickness that we can do very little to control. Only 8% of the things we worry about are worth worrying about. The Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans studied 500 consecutive admissions and found that 77 percent were there because of anxiety. Maybe that’s the reason my mother said she was ‘worried sick.’

So we need to learn that worry is like a rocking chair, it doesn’t get us anywhere. Surely you’ve heard this little ditty:

Worry never climbed a hill. Worry never paid a bill. Worry never dried a tear. Worry never calmed a fear.

So what are some remedies for worry?

FIRST, YOU MUST TRUST GOD WHO IS THE HEAVENLY FATHER, AND WHO CARES ABOUT US!

If you are an atheist I can’t help you. You are on your own here. But if you are not, you will have to see that you are more valuable than any of the other creatures, created by God (Matthew 6:26). Whatever you have done, whatever others think of you, or you may think of yourself, please realize and know that God loves you. You cannot earn his love: it is eternal and unconditional.

To be in the kingdom, Jesus said, is to be like a child. Children are more trustful and trusting than adults: they’re more willing to let others control their life. When we told our young children, and now our grandchildren certain things they need to do, they trust us and do it. You see faith involves understanding how limited we are and how little control we have over certain things. Control is a real issue for many of us, especially men. I have discovered that most women find it easier to trust God than men.

Someone said that a worry is a mild form of atheism, living as if God doesn’t exist, doesn’t have any power, or doesn’t care to use his power on your behalf. You can trust Him to fulfill His promises, to care for you, to forgive your sins, and cleanse you from all unrighteousness, if that’s what you’re worried about.

Or as Jesus pointed out, ‘Look at the birds of the air (those little insignificant sparrows); they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.’ The God who has provided life also provides the necessities to keep that life going. The point, of course, is NOT that the birds and animals are taken care of without work; that is not true – it has been said that no one works harder than the average sparrow to make a living. The message is that they do not worry about that living.

I remember as a boy in Sunday School over a half-century ago, we were taught this little poem:

Said the robin to the sparrow, I would really like to know Why these anxious human beings Rush around and worry so. Said the sparrow to the robin, Friend, I think that it must be That they have no heavenly Father Such as cares for you and me.

As to the issue of care and quality of life, Jesus talks about birds and flowers. ‘And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you?’ It seems that most in the world are clothed. Sure, it’s true that some have finer and even more clothes, but the issue is God clothes us. You can trust Him.

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Really a good one!

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