Fret Not Day 2 – Worry Is Crippling
“Historians will probably call our era ‘the age of anxiety.’ Anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are centered in anything short of God and His will for us.” —Billy Graham
Who knew, when Billy Graham wrote these words in 1965, how true they would be so many years later? Actually, there is Someone. God knew. And because He knew, He gave us Himself in every way, along with His Word, to bring comfort in the chaos that would so often contend with the peace in our souls.
Anxiety is real and is a struggle that seizes each of us differently and regularly. There seems to be something new to worry about every day. But our tender-hearted God wants so much more for us than to make our way through this life full of fretting, worry and anxiety. He whispers to us His loving invitation to…
“Fret not.” (Psalm 37:1)
I am more and more convinced the longer I look at this subject that fretting is one of the many cunning stratagems the enemy will happily use to cripple us. In other words, worry is a wile of the devil. But we have within us One who is greater, One who is wiser, One who is already victor over the foe! Yesterday we observed, from Psalm 37, eight things we can do to exchange our worry for peace—eight practices to perform, or steps to take, in order to settle our souls when they are filled with despair. Today, I’d like to take a closer look at the first four. However, in looking at this passage longer and discussing it with others, I have come to appreciate that these eight ways to ward off worry are not just “steps” in overcoming; they are tender invitations from the One who has already overcome!
The First Invitation: Trust in the Lord (vs. 3)
When I think of the word “trust,” my mind immediately conjures up a place of safety and security, a place where I can rest, free from care and fretting. Interestingly, the word “trust” in this verse carries the meaning of being “care-less.” In other words, God is telling us that peace comes from releasing our cares and entrusting them to Him. He is our safe place. He is our rest. He is trustworthy.
In contrast, the enemy would like nothing more than for us to displace our trust. He wants us to trust in our circumstances, to trust in ourselves, to trust in man—to trust in anything that will fail in providing the security and safety found from trusting the Lord alone.
But trust in the Lord trumps worry. Trust in the Lord frees us from fretting. When we place our full confidence in God, we are leaving outcomes with Him. We are exercising faith in His ability to take care of anything and everything we worry about. We are believing that, whatever happens, it will be for our good and His glory.
Brothers and sisters, God can handle our cares and most worrisome situations far better than we can. And He is kindly inviting us to let Him.
The Second Invitation: Do Good (vs. 3)
Have you ever noticed that worry is somewhat distracting? It really is a form of focus, a fixation of sorts, on the unknown. And it’s a thief—a thief that robs us blind of our time and our energy, our joy and our peace. With these losses, it’s difficult to find the strength to serve. And the devil knows it! He will use anything, including our worry, to hinder our holy activity for God.
Interestingly, God invites us to an alternate focus: doing good. Whether it be simply doing the right thing in a situation that makes us anxious, or serving others in order to focus on something other than our fretting, either way, doing good redirects our mind toward others and, ultimately, toward God. It is an invitation to joy and peace. So, the next time fretting is fighting for your focus, reach out to someone. Meet a need. Serve and do good for the glory of God!
The Third Invitation: Befriend Faithfulness (vs. 3)
There seem to be differing interpretations of this part of the verse. The KJV renders “befriend faithfulness” as “and verily thou shalt be fed.” The NKJV puts it “feed on His faithfulness.” The NASB says “cultivate faithfulness” and the NIV translates it as “enjoy safe pasture.” Truthfully, I love the idea of them all. They weave together into a beautiful invitation to embrace and find peace in who God is—He is faithful.
When we are surrounded by a heavy cloud of care and worry, we can lose sight of this truth and be tempted to doubt His faithfulness. At least, I know I can. But it’s from within that cloud that we must reach for His hand—His hand of faithfulness. The Psalm writer reached for it over and over again and tells us so in verses like this: “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands” (Psalm 143:5).
Recounting His past faithfulness, appreciating His present faithfulness, and trusting in His future faithfulness remind us that God is always for His people and He always comes through for them. And because God is faith-full, I can be faith-filled, full of faith and confidence that no matter what worries, cares or outcomes trouble me, God knows all about them and is right there to provide the grace and strength I need when I am weakened by them. What a peace-giving truth!
The Fourth Invitation: Delight in the Lord (vs. 4)
When we delight in someone, we find great pleasure and enjoyment in who they are. We savour spending time with them and look for ways to please and serve them. We share our hearts with them and, in turn, listen to theirs. We are captivated by everything about them.
Is our Lord not most worthy of this same delight? There is no one in whom more peace can be had by delighting in them than our Lord. He invites us to exchange our distress for delight. He invites us to find pleasure in who He is, to find Him completely enrapturing, captivating. And what do we find captivating about Him? Everything—His being, His perfections, His love, His friendship, His faithfulness… the list could go on! When we choose to delight in the Lord, our worries melt away, our fretting becomes less frequent, and we find true sanctuary apart from the chaos within.
Don’t you feel so loved? God so graciously invites us to a victorious way of living through trusting in Him, serving Him, remembering His faithfulness, and delighting in Him! Accepting these invitations doesn’t necessarily change circumstances or eliminate trials or heal diseases. But what they do offer us is a path to peace within, when everything without is anything but peaceful. The Lord knew we would wrestle with worries and unknowns. And I love that, in them, He promised and provided a safe place for our souls to find rest.
Enjoy these blessed invitations today!