I don’t know about you, but if I allow myself to, I can become increasingly worried. I worry about the increase in the cost of living. I worry about climate change (especially after reading several books, as well a being bombarded by the media on the subject). I worry about food security in Canmore and Banff. (Did you know that Canmore is the most expensive small town to live in Alberta?) I worry about the war between Ukraine and Russia; will it escalate? Will sending those German made Leopard Tanks into the battle field help? Or will it make Russia more aggressive? I worry about the future. I worry about the consequences of the past. I worry about a lot of things that I didn’t worry about before. In fact I’m not alone; people across Canada are worrying more.
Anxiety and feelings of depression and loneliness, (plus all of the above unsolved problems of the world) are causing Canadians to worry more, according to a survey by the Canadian Press. The results of the poll indicate that 27% of the people of Alberta think that 2023 will be worse than the previous year. (The poll indicates that 22% of Canadian share this fear.)
Worrying too much can trigger your brain to release "stress hormones" that speed up your heart rate and breathing, raise your blood sugar, and send more blood to your arms and legs. Over time, this can affect your heart, blood vessels, muscles, and other systems. It can also produce depression. Ulcers. It can trigger the growth of cancerous cells. It is a cause of loss of memory. Worry is not good for you. It is a fruitless occupation.
Jesus had something to say about worry:
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’
or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
For the pagans run after all these things,
and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has
enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:31-34
Isn’t it interesting, that when Jesus spoke about worry and it’s ill effects, he also provided a solution to our anxiety; to seek God’s “kingdom” and his “righteousness.”
He begins by asking us to think about life and its value. If God gave us life, then surely it is of value, and we can trust Him for the things of less value.
So says Jesus, “do not worry about tomorrow.” It is not ordinary prudent foresight that Jesus is forbidding. He is not advocating a “shiftless, reckless, thoughtless, improvident attitude to life.” Not at all. He is forbidding a care-worn, worried fear, which takes all the joy out of life.
Worry, says Jesus, is characteristic of those who do not trust God. They are the folks who think everything is random. To those who do not believe that God created everything that may seem normal. To those who know God, who know that He is the God of Love, and of righteousness; there is no need to worry. Why? Because He is the God who sent His only Son to rescue us from sin and death; to show us how to live meaningful lives; to teach us about love. So, Jesus forbids worry.
Followers of Jesus know that to “be in the Kingdom of God” is the same as “doing the will of God.” If we concentrate on accepting and doing the will of God, we will soon discover we have nothing to worry about.
If you want to live longer, be healthier, shake off that depression, and find love, peace and joy in your life, according to the Bible, here is what you need to do:
Love and Trust God. Love your neighbour as yourself. Study the Bible. Pray constantly. Rejoice always. Give thanks in all circumstances. Live in fellowship with others and with God. Forgive always. Look for God’s mercy and be glad in it.
You can learn more stress relieving techniques, by coming to church often and by joining a Lenten Bible Study Group.