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When worry overwhelms you

When worry overwhelms you

Have you ever been gripped with fear? Maybe you were in a life-threatening situation that made your blood run cold and your hair stand on end. Wherever we find fear, we'll usually find its close companion, worry. Fear and worry go together.

Of course, there are a lot of things to be worried about in our world today, from the state of our nation to the economy to the continued threat of terrorism.

Yet modern medical research has proven that worry actually can break down our resistance to disease. More than that, researchers have found that it actually diseases the nervous system, the digestive organs and the heart. So, one of the things we don't want to worry about is how long we will live, because in effect, we could be shortening our lives in the process.

I admit that I struggle with worry. I say this to my own shame, because the fact is that when we worry, we're actually failing to trust God. The word "worry" originates from an English word that means "to strangle."

And that is exactly what worry does. It creates an emotional and mental stranglehold on our lives. It doesn't make anything better. In fact, it makes things worse. When we worry about the future, we cripple ourselves in the present. Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.

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That is why Jesus said, "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today" (Matthew 6:34 NLT).

However, it seems as though we spend our lives hurrying and worrying. And then ultimately, our lives come to an end. We worry about the wrong things, and we end up missing what God wants us to do.

The Bible tells us, "Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4 NLT). When the apostle Paul wrote these words, he wasn't sitting on a nice beach and enjoying a glass of iced tea.

No, Paul was in prison by that time. Worse yet, he didn't know what awaited him. He could be acquitted. Or, he could be put to death. But despite these dire circumstances, Paul told us to "always be full of joy in the Lord."

Understand, in the original language this is a command, not a suggestion. Therefore, to ignore this is to actually disobey God. We may find a way to rationalize our worries, but God commands us to rejoice.

We all know people who could lighten up a little bit. They seem to always find something miserable to talk about, even when things are going well. Life is filled with enough troubles without adding more unnecessarily.

Paul was saying, "Listen, if anyone could be down, it's me. I'm in prison! Yet I'm telling you to always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice!"

Anyone can rejoice when things are going reasonably well. But when adversity or sickness or hardship comes and we're still rejoicing, then we're obeying God.

By the way, that is a unique trait of Christians, because our contentment and joy don't come from what we have; they come from Who we know.

The prophet Habakkuk wrote, "Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!" (Habakkuk 3:17–18 NLT).

These are the words of someone who knew that God was still in control and would not abandon him.

Notice that Paul wasn't saying we should rejoice in our circumstances. Rather, he was saying that we should rejoice in the Lord. This means that despite what we may be going through right now, God is still on His throne, He still loves us, His plans for us are still good, and He never will leave us or forsake us.

The psalmist wrote, "But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life" (Psalm 42:8 NLT). I love that the psalmist sings to the Lord during the night as well as during the day.

It seems that we often do more worrying at night, especially when it's time to fall sleep. That is when all kinds of worrying thoughts begin to creep in. That is also the time to say, "Lord, there is nothing I can do about this. You are in control of my life. So, I'm committing this to you now, and I am going to sleep."

The Bible tells us that Paul and Silas were put in prison in Philippi for preaching the Gospel. And although they were in a prison and fastened in stocks, we are told that "around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening" (Acts 16:25 NLT).

When you're in pain, the midnight hour is not the easiest time for a worship service. Nor is it easy to rejoice in the Lord when you're in the doctor's office waiting for test results or when you're in a waiting room at the hospital while your loved one is in surgery. Yet the Bible commands us to "always be full of joy in the Lord."

A few verses later, Paul went on to say, "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done" (Philippians 4:6 NLT).

The next time you're tempted to worry, here is what you need to do: Pray. Get into the habit of turning to God when you feel worry approaching.

I think that many times our problems are so big because our concept of God is so small. But if we will see God for who he is, then we will see our problems for what they are.

Content created by the WND News Center is available for re-publication without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@wndnewscenter.org.


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