I have been thinking recently about the nature of worry. It is a sin that we are pretty quick to excuse, sometimes perhaps because we confuse worry with concern. Concern is often on some else’s behalf and it often has a conclusive action on our part. If I am concerned for my friend because she looked really tired, I can offer to watch her kids or take her a meal. If I am concerned for my child because they are sick, I can take them to the doctor to get them medicine. But worry doesn’t have an action that is helpful. Worry is caught-up in the what-ifs. Worry is us telling ourselves a bad story. Worry is usually about our own well-being instead of some else’s. Here is the interesting thing about worry that I have been meditating on: worry is telling ourselves a story where we sin in the future.
I worry about not having any money because I am afraid of not having food or clothing or a home. I am worried that I might be discontent in the future. I worry about illness because I won’t be able to do the things I love to do. I am worried that I might be selfish in the future. I worry about loosing someone I love because I will be in the pit of despair without them. I am worried that I might wallow in self-pity in the future.
Do you see what I mean? Worry is telling myself that I will have a live a hard story and I will just be sinning up a storm in the middle of that story. It is telling myself that in this bad, hard story I will not be rejoicing and I will be discontent and I will not be loving others or loved by them. But what about the fact that I am sinning in my current story with all this worry? No wonder Christ told us to stop it. I am telling myself that if disaster comes then I will not have the strength of the Holy Spirit and I will not have the support of the church. Worry is telling myself a lie. Worry is telling myself that I will not have a Comforter or a comforter. It is taking the worst case scenario about tomorrow and robbing it of all God’s graces and mercies.
Psalm 112:7 says “They will have no fear of bad news, their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” It is only possible to have no fear of bad news if we believe the Lord when He says He will be with us through the deep waters, He will guide us with His counsel, He is trust-worthy. Whatever the future holds, there God will be, ready to protect us from sin, ready to enable us to rejoice.