“Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”
That old proverb came to mind as I read a study about the link between increased worry and stroke risk. After adjusting for other behaviors they discovered that those participants with the highest level of anxiety factors had a thirty-three percent higher risk of strokes than those in the lowest range of anxiety.
The study was sobering on a personal level. My Dad was a chronic worrier. He died from complications of a stroke. Worry is a thief that steals joy and peace from it’s victims. I saw it with my Dad. I see it all around me.
As I get older I see more and more how practical Scripture is for daily living. In the teaching of my youth the Bible was a book of lofty and seemingly impossible demands to behave in a way that would please God. Now I see that the Bible is a love story where Jesus met those impossible demands on my behalf. I see now that my simple faith and trust pleases God. And I see a practical book that shows me how to find joy during this temporary journey on earth. The Designer knew when we left the factory that worry is destructive. The study above merely confirms what Jesus said a couple of millenia ago.
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-27, NLT)
Worries certainly cannot add a moment though it appears they can subtract. Jesus continues in the same message.
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
He promised that we will get everything we need. Note it is not everything that we want. Learning to be content is understanding the difference between want and need.
Corrie Ten Boom wisely wrote these words. “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.” Worry causes you to take your eye off of the source of your strength. Jesus. He is your strength and your hope. Keep you eyes on Jesus and the words of a classic old church hymn will begin to ring true in your heart.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.