By Rev. Gladys Herzog
First Congregational Church, Beardstown
This week I promised to give some pointers about how to cease making worry the primary concern in our lives. I want to relate to that first of all by my own experience, and secondly, I’d like to point you to a little book written by Max Lucado. The book is called, “Less Fret, More Faith,” and is for an 11-week group study or can be used for your own study.
My personal experience with worry started when I was a child. I was the last one of six children. Soon after I was born, two of my older brothers were called into World War II. When I was 4, my mother had a stroke. She later recovered pretty fully. I remember the adult conversations during that time were that Hitler was going to come back, because he had faked his death. You think today’s world is a mess. To my 4-year-old ears, that world was no picnic.
When I was about 9, my father also became ill, spending weeks at a time in the VA hospital. Now this may sound like I had a terrible childhood, but I really had a wonderful one, with two parents who loved us children fiercely, and portrayed for us God’s unconditional love. Although I worried about the mess the world was in, I knew even then God was in my life and the life of other people around me. I learned an important thing, that those times when worry is bothering us, we need to trust God is there with us.
Worry is a lot of “what ifs.” “What ifs” most often do not really come to pass. Hitler never came back. He didn’t have the power of resurrection like Jesus who did. When worry starts to make your mind race as you lie awake, stop and pray, putting all the “what ifs” in God’s hands, and then roll over and go to sleep. When Jesus was about to leave the disciples behind, He promised them His peace, and His peace is beyond the peace the world brings. I have learned over the 36 plus years of being with people as their pastor that we need to develop a heart of thanksgiving, and the joy of the Lord, which really is our strength. Look at all of life with a grateful heart. Count your blessings, instead of the “what ifs.” I allow myself to live today as a time God has made for us, so we need to give it our full attention.
Lucado’s book, “Less Fret, More Faith,” points out how much anxiety rules in the USA. He says if the Olympics had a worry event, we would win the gold. As you read the book you may find some of your life experience with anxiety. I hope you’ll take the time to read it.
Prayer – Oh God, we give you thanks for the life you have given us day by day. Forgive us those times when we let anxiety rule our lives because we think whatever happens depends on us. Help us to do your will in all our days. Amen
By Rev. Gladys Herzog