The Relationship Between Worry, Trust, and Eternity
Worry

It happens all too frequently. I sing praises to God on Sunday morning and wake early on Monday morning beset by worry.

The cause might be my growing to-do list. Or circumstances outside my control. It could be due to loss and grief. Actually, the reason is less important than my response.

Worry. Anxiousness.

It comes in the form of a thought life that constantly imagines the worst possible outcome for any situation. I might worry about health, finances, relationships, safety, or any of a hundred other topics.

When I find myself worrying, it means several things.

First, I’m depending on myself. Specifically, I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking that outcomes are dependent on my own ability.

Being consumed by worry also takes me out of the present. Instead of enjoying today, I’m too busy obsessing about tomorrow.

And depending on myself means I’m not trusting God. Worry means I believe the lie that God is not working for my ultimate good and His eternal glory.

Antidote to Worry

The antidote to worry is to remember who we belong to.

And that leads to understanding what salvation in Christ really means. Our salvation has 3 components:

Past

At the moment we trust Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior God declares us justified in His sight (Romans 5:1). Justification means we have a right standing before God. His wrath is no longer directed toward our sin, for Jesus “drank” the full cup of God’s wrath against sin when He died on the cross for us.

So I have no need to worry about the past. As a Christian, my past has been covered by the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Present

But God did not stop at addressing our past. He also addresses our present. Every committed believer in Jesus Christ has the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (II Thess. 2:13). The Holy Spirit does the work of sanctification in our life—a  lifelong process of becoming what God has declared us to be: righteous!

So I have not need to worry about the present. God is at work in my life to make me more like His Son. And He will use every situation in my life toward that end.

Future

Finally, we look forward to an amazing future. At the moment a Christian dies, he or she is immediately in the presence of God. As the apostle Paul said, “To live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Our glorification includes having glorified bodies, free from even the temptation of sin.

 

Understanding the full breadth of our salvation reminds us God is in control, so there’s nothing to worry about. Whatever happens in this life is both temporary and will be used by our heavenly Father for our good and His glory.

Kick worry to the door and replace it with trust in the Lord who has us covered: past, present, and future!


Seasons of Life, Jumping to Conclusions, and Worry

When we relocated from the northeast to Florida, one of the things we missed most was the change of seasons. Native Floridians quickly advised us that instead of winter, spring, summer, and fall, our seasons are snowbird, love bug, summer, and hurricane.

While the calendar tells us the first day of spring was March 20th, our weather didn’t appear to get the message. Still, we’re not complaining about the cooler temperatures this week. We just look for signs of spring in other ways.

One of those ways appeared in my own backyard a few days ago.

Last month, I wrote a blog post titled, “Mate for Life.” In that post, I described a pair of sandhill cranes that had frequented our backyard for the past year. I also expressed my sadness at the apparent loss of half the pair. I hoped the missing crane might simply be tending her nest and would soon reappear.

WorryShe did. This week, we watched the whole family foraging for food: daddy, mommy and two precious sandhill crane chicks.

When I first noticed the single crane, I had assumed the worst: his mate had died and he would be alone for the rest of his life.

Why do we do that? Why do we jump to conclusions and assume terrible things before gathering all the facts? We allow ourselves to become anxious over what appears to have occurred, only to discover it has not happened. In the end, we prove the adage, “Worry is the interest paid in advance on a debt you may never owe.”

Worry

I know better, yet I can fall back into old patterns of behavior. Uncertainty is an opportunity to trust my heavenly Father. But my actions don’t always reflect what I claim to believe. I need to remember rock-solid truth when the future appears to be sinking sand.

The Bible has much to say on this subject. Perhaps these verses will be as helpful to you as they are to me…

  • “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:25-30 ESV).

 

  • “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:33-34 ESV).

 

  • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV).

 

  • “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7 ESV).

 

Good words. But if these words are to help me, I must do more than just read them. I need to own them. Remind myself of them daily. Process them so my understanding and application is more than a mere academic exercise.

I need to live them.

It’s not always easy. And I expect there will continue to be occasions when I’ll regress. Still, I’m grateful my heavenly Father does not give up on me. He provides reminders that during seasons of change I don’t need to jump to conclusions or expect the worst. His Holy Spirit encourages me so that I don’t have to yield to worry.

And, occasionally, He sends me a family of sandhill cranes to remind me that He’s still in control.

How do you handle uncertainty?