Get Rid of Worry
Monday— If I say, “My foot slips,” Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up. Psalm 94:18
“Dad!” came the scream from somewhere below the rim of the canyon. Rod leaped into action, covering the hundred yards in seconds. “Mason!” he called. “Hang on! I’m coming!” He got to the rim and spotted his son twenty feet below the edge, dangling from a tree root. There was no time for lectures, for reminding his eight-year-old that he was supposed to stay with the group. Discipline would come later, but his son was in trouble. He’d called for Dad, and good dads come at a dead run.
The Lord God Almighty, awesome and powerful, is also a good Dad. When we surrender our rebelliousness to the lordship of His Son, He adopts us as His own kids. With that adoption comes discipline, training, instructions, and lots of mercy. When we start to slip and we cry for Him, He doesn’t lecture or remind us where we messed up. He comes at a dead run. The word “mercy” is translated a half dozen ways in other Bible versions because the Hebrew word the Psalmist used doesn’t have a good English equivalent. It means that one who needs nothing offers loving mercy to one who least deserves it. We get too close to the cliff. We wander off and our foot slips. Discipline will come, but our Dad is a good Dad. He comes at a dead run.
Final Thought: Do you have a relationship with your heavenly Father so that when your foot slips, He comes at a dead run?
Prayer: Father, may I call you that? I trust in the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus to cover my sin. I belong to Him, so when I start to get off track, I can scream for you and know that you’ll come at a dead run. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Tuesday— Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
“What are you doing?” asked Trey, joining Derrick at the water’s edge. Derrick picked up a stone, smoothed it with his thumbs, and whispered to it before throwing it as far as he could. Trey laughed. ”What are you, fish whispering?” Derrick smiled. “Nah, I’m doing what the Bible says about worry. I’m casting all my anxiety on Him. See this stone? I’m calling it mom’s cancer diagnosis and that one over there is my job loss. So I pick up a rock, name it, then tell the Lord it’s in His hands and I cast it on Him, like this.” He hurled another stone then opened his empty palms. “See? It’s gone. I won’t take worries home with me.”
That’s what this verse means. When we “cast” something, we send it out farther than we can see. When a fisherman casts his line, he can’t see what’s beneath the water but he trusts that something is there. When we cast our anxieties on God, we can’t see what He might do with them, but we trust that there’s an answer. We let go of them by placing them in his hands. However, we don’t dictate the ending: “Okay, Lord, I’m casting this worry but here’s what you need to do about it.” We also cast our expectations, trusting that God will work for our long-term benefit—even if His answer is different than the one we wanted. We tell Him what we’d like to see happen, then cast it all on Him and trust Him with the outcome—and don’t take worry home.
Final Thought: We either loan God our worry or we cast it on Him. There’s a BIG difference.
Prayer: Father, I’m good at loaning you my worry, but then I take it back. Teach me to pray until I let go and trust that your outcome is the best one. Even Jesus had to do it three times before He could let go of dread. Help me get better at it. Amen.
Wednesday— “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
When the biopsy reveals the worst, when the person you counted on walks out the door, when betrayal cuts like a knife or the loss is so great you’re not sure you can keep breathing…where do you run? Satan offers a bevvy of options and he’s usually first in line with suggestions: “How about alcohol? Pills? One-night stand? Bitterness? You deserve it.” But the One with the good answers waits for us to come to Him. He’s got strength to lift us up, hope to keep us going, and answers when we’re fresh out. But what about when we try that and we hit a brick wall? There are two reasons we don’t experience God’s help: 1) We insisted it must turn out our way. OR 2) He’s not really our Lord and Savior. God WANTS to lift us up. He WANTS to strengthen and help us. But sometimes, when God doesn’t agree with us about the ending, we turn away from Him.
This is an encouraging verse, but notice the qualifier that came first: I AM YOUR GOD. We don’t get to have other gods all week and then run screaming to Him for help when we get into trouble. When disaster is the only time we seek God, then He’s not our God. We can’t expect Him to come running in bad times when we’ve refused to obey Him during good times. But when Jesus is Lord of our lives, this is God’s iron-clad promise to us. He knows we’re scared. He understands we’re weak and He’s promising to be there when tragedy strikes, disaster looms, or loss hurts. When the Lord is our God, we have nothing to fear.
Final Thought: Worry is picturing a future without God in it.
Prayer: Father, thank you for being my God in the good times and the bad. Remind me to be vigilant about refusing to let other gods gain a foothold. Thank you that I never need to fear my future because you will be there. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thursday— When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, your consolations delight my soul. Psalm 94:19
Anxiety doesn’t bother with addition. It goes straight to multiplication, then exponentiation, then…well, you know how it is. Anxieties multiply within us, especially at 2:00 am. They rarely come alone. They bring a string of possibilities that can keep us sleepless for weeks: (“If that happens, then that will happen, and then he will…and she won’t…”) So what do we do with these fears that multiply like a pen full of rabbits? This verse tells us where to take that bulging cage of rabbits—God’s word. But it doesn’t help to flip open to Ecclesiastes or Lamentations at 3:00 am. That’s like listening to screamo when we need lullabies.
It’s important to know God’s word so that we know where to turn when anxieties multiply within us. Remember when you were facing a time crunch, a crossroads, or a tragedy, and you wished you knew where to find God’s consolations? Maybe you tried the flip-open method of Bible study and landed on Deuteronomy 28:22: “The LORD will strike you with wasting diseases, fever, and inflammation…” Yeah, that doesn’t help. The flip-and-claim method either scares us silly or makes us take verses out of context. Instead, in calm times, find some promises (try Psalms), print them out, and when worry hits, read them out loud like you mean it. That’s why they’re in the Bible! Use Biblehub.com and type “worry” into the search bar. Find God’s consolations.
Final Thought: For starters, try these: Psalm 34:17-19; Psalm 91; Psalm 37:39-40; Romans 8:28-39; Philippians 4:6-7.
Prayer: Father, in order for your consolations to be my delight, I have to know them. Guide my study of your word so that I hear from you as I read. Press on my heart the passages you want me to meditate on so I’m ready when worry comes. Amen.
Friday— Cast your burden on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22
Imagine a slippery log high above raging white-water rapids. Would you walk the log? Or what about a sketchy-looking footbridge spanning the Grand Canyon. It sways in the wind and a few planks are missing. Would you walk on it? We face tough decisions like that and often we don’t have a choice. Should I let them operate on my daughter? Was it my son’s helicopter that went missing in Pakistan? That’s when God tells us to cast our burden on Him and He will carry us through. But that second part makes us lift an eyebrow. Righteous? Shaken? This must not apply to me.
The righteous are those who are seeking God’s righteousness. They WANT to obey. Their own sin grieves them and they want to be rid of it, even knowing they’ll still mess up. Those who have placed their faith in Christ have HIS righteousness credited to their accounts. They (we) are the ones in this verse. But wait… the righteous DO get shaken up, so what does this mean? Consider those illustrations above, but you now know that there is a safety net beneath them. A person may fall but he’s not destroyed. Every day we hear of another person who once claimed to know Christ but is now walking away. Did God drop them? Did the safety net break? No, there are two possibilities: 1) They were either never righteous, OR 2) They intentionally forfeited God’s salvation. In other words, someone can give us a million dollars but we can also give it back. Disasters come. Doubts and hurts threaten. But if we keep our hand in God’s, we never have to fear being shaken out of His family tree.
Final Thought: You can walk through life with no fear of being shaken when you keep your hand in Christ’s.
Prayer: Father, thank you for this promise. I don’t have to fear being thrown out of your family when I stumble because you hold me by the hand. Thank you that I am called “righteous” because of Jesus. May I live to honor Him. In His name, amen.