I am the champion of what-ifs. Some people say, “Feel better about the problem by working it out to its worst conclusion. See, it wasn’t so bad!” Instead, I will come up with one horrifying, disastrous scenario. I used to think that prepping for everything as if the worst case scenario would happen was just good preparation. The only thing it prepared me to do was worry and more pessimistic thinking. I needed to get my heart lined up with the truth of the Bible. What does the Bible say about worry and fear? Here are three important truths about worry and fear.
Fear God and not man.
The English language and the use of the word “fear” in today’s culture can make the phrase “fear God” seem like we should be frightened by God and try to run away from Him. God is holy, perfect, and strong, among many other powerful traits. We should not presume to put ourselves on the same level as Him. We should fear Him, especially if we don’t have the salvation that Jesus provided for us through the cross.
But let’s also understand this fear by the biblical definition of it: “to fear, to stand in awe of, be awed, reverence, honor, and respect.” We should give God the respect, the awe, and yes, the fear, He deserves. But let’s not be afraid to have a relationship with Him, to pour out our hearts to Him, to trust Him. Our amazing God of the universe wants us to draw close to Him (James 4:8).
Knowing our place in God, and His place over everything, we can proclaim this with the psalmist. “In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?” Psalm 56:4 NASB1995
God provides for what He wants us to do.
In Exodus 16, the Israelites have left Egypt and are in the desert. Because of their lack of trust in God, they would spend 40 years in the wilderness. Even though it was their action that caused this delay to living in the promised land, God had a plan and provided food from heaven to eat that caused them to truly rely and trust on Him to eat.
When people kept more than a day’s worth of this bread that had rained down overnight, it rotted with maggots and they could not eat it. But on the day before the Sabbath, they could gather two day’s worth, and the bread would remain edible. Each day’s bread was a miracle from God.
With our hindsight, we would likely chuckle at the person who gathered up a little bit extra for tomorrow “just in case,” only to see it rotten and probably smelly. We would wonder why they worried and tried to get out ahead of God, when He was giving them what they needed, even when stuck in a place they didn’t want to be.
But how do we act when presented with a modern-day equivalent? Do we think about how God has provided in the past, and rest in Him? Or do we scramble as we try to conquer the problem by overdoing, worrying, and trying to manipulate the situation? Let’s be thankful for what God has provided, instead of worrying about the future.
Our worries don’t change our circumstances.
Matthew 6:27 ESV tells us, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” This verse especially hits us worriers who focus on the health of a loved one or of ourselves. Our worries yield nothing.
Prayer can change circumstances. It also changes people’s hearts, including our own hearts! James 5:16b ESV says, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” Using the desire to worry as a prompt to start praying is a much better use of our time!
A prayer for today’s worries
Dear Lord, Isaiah 12:2 ESV says, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” We thank You that we can put our faith in You and not worry. Please guard our hearts from worry, and help us to trust in You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.