“The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” Chicken Little’s cry caused quite a stir in the forest until the king showed her and her crew the acorn that was still caught in the feathers of her head. The king closed his comforting message to her by telling her not to worry.
“Not to worry!” Easy for him to say! It seems, in these days, like a pie-in-the-sky fairy tale – don’t worry. With terrorist converts operating right here in our own country, the boarder breached by the drug cartel, political unrest, economic uncertainty, war, and things closer to home such as divorce, lay-offs, drugs, alcoholism, depression, domestic abuse, etc., Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” feels like a pipe dream.
And yet, it is the message of Jesus Christ. Three times in Matthew 6, Christ commands us, “Do not worry.” Then He asks the question, “Why do you worry?” And finally, He makes the most potent inquiry of all, “Which one of you, by worrying, has added one inch to your height?” On the contrary, if you and I are honest, we will admit that worrying does just the opposite – it stoops us over. It takes away from our life.
But, can I tell you that worry is much more serious than even that? Have you ever looked up the definition of worry? Here’s one from dictionary.com: to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret. But, that’s nothing compared to this one: to seize, especially by the throat, with the teeth and shake or mangle, as one animal does another.
If you looked up this word in a Greek dictionary to find out exactly what Jesus was commanding us to not do, you would find that worry means “to divide into parts.” In this chapter, Christ is trying to teach us to trust in God. When we go through traumatic situations, or we’re faced with worrisome problems on the horizon, reacting to them with worry fills us with torment. It divides or splinters our soul. It becomes a tool in the hand of Satan to even allow him to treat us as a dog does a piece of meat. It is one of his tactics in an attempt to keep you from “being whole.”
Saint James said that, when we are filled with doubt, we become like a “wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.” He said we are double-minded and unstable in all of our ways. And that includes our health.
As of 1994, estimates indicated that the annual cost of stress and stress-related diseases in the U.S. exceeded $100 billion, a direct result of health care costs, lost productivity, and absenteeism. Dr. Hans Selye, one of the foremost authorities on stress defines it as our response to what life throws at us. He differentiates between eustress and distress. Eustress is our response to stress that causes us to get even stronger through the tough time. Distress is when we respond in a way that causes our system to begin to shut down. Drs. Werner and Sharon Hoeger say, “Chronic distress raises the risk for many health disorders, including coronary heart disease, hypertension, eating disorders, ulcers, diabetes, asthma, depression, migraine headaches, sleep disorders, and chronic fatigue and may even play a role in the development of certain types of cancers. Recognizing this turning point and overcoming the problem quickly and efficiently are crucial in maintaining emotional and physiological stability.”
Jesus said that, when we worry, we act like a person who doesn’t trust God to care for him or her. So, I ask, do you? Why do I worry? I feel things are out of my control? I don’t know the answer or what to do? I don’t know or trust God’s heart.
See, in the Bible Belt, almost everyone “believes IN God.” But, I’d like to amend that with this question. “Do you BELIEVE God?” Do you believe Him when He tells you He loves you? Do you believe Him when He tells you He will take care of you if you will just trust Him? Believing He exists is much different than actually having an intimate relationship with Him.
Stop being the devil’s meat bone and ask God to help you to trust Him. Decide today that you will not worry. You cannot help what happens in life at times, but you always have the power to determine how you respond to what happens. Christ said that if your Heavenly Father cares enough to clothe the lilies of the field and give the sparrow its next meal, how much more will He care for you. You are the apple of His eye. He loves you. Believe it. Receive it. He’s got you, Chicken Little. Wipe out worry!