Worry and Peace: The Choice


When you read that word, what comes to mind? You might think about stress, a health issue, or the weight of some unresolved problem or relationship. To worry means to experience anxiety, to feel unease, to dwell on what might happen and to focus on the future with concern. Our central question is simply this: What difference should our faith make when we’re tempted to worry?

Do you know that worry is a choice? You may know someone who’s going through an intense time in their life and yet, they seem at peace. Or you may know someone who’s dealing with a relatively small challenge and they seem completely stressed out.

Here’s my point: Worry is a choice. You don’t have to worry and no one can make you worried. You may be facing huge challenges – the potential loss of a job, a serious medical situation, a broken relationship. I’m sure you don’t need me to suggest things to be stressed about. But the decision to worry is a choice. It’s a choice that calls into question your faith. When you worry about your job, you are, in part, wondering about the power and faithfulness of God.

God doesn't want you to worry. Let me give you an example from my own life to illustrate what I mean. A couple years ago, Beckey and I celebrated our 25th anniversary by taking a trip to Mexico – our dream vacation. However, the first of our two flights was delayed, which resulted in a challenge to get to the connecting flight in time. We were already late when we landed in Atlanta, and there was no equipment to meet our plane. So we waited ... and we waited. The longer we waited to get off the plane, the more anxious I became. Eventually, we got off with about 20 minutes before our next flight was due to take off - on the OTHER side of the airport! I half-jokingly asked Beckey, “Should we run?” She laughed and said, “Let’s do it!” So with all our hand luggage we ran and ran, then got on a little internal tram, and then ran some more. As we approached our gate, a guy stood on a chair and shouted to us, “Don’t bother running, this flight’s delayed!” All that energy wasted!

Worry is a little bit like that - wasted energy. Worry doesn’t change anything. Worry is a choice, and if we choose to worry, aren’t we questioning the character of God? (Is God really still good? Is God really in control? Does God really know the situation I’m in?)

If worry is a choice, then so is trust. Think again about our key text:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

The quote I gave you last week is worth repeating: “You should not begin to pray for all you want until you realize that in God you have all you need." ~Augustine

Have a good week trusting God!