Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7 (New International Version)
Years ago my family and I went through a very difficult time. My husband came down with a debilitating illness that was tough to get a diagnosis on and kept us out of work for months. As we were self employed, having run a handyman and construction business together for years, every day we were unable to work was a day we did not get paid. As both our regular bills and doctor bills began to pile up, fear and worry became constant companions.
One morning, after another sleepless night, I went to visit a friend. I’m not usually one who likes to share my troubles with others but, out of desperation, I completely unburdened myself onto to him. I shared my fear of not being able to pay our electric bill, of not being able to buy groceries or to pay our mortgage. I shared my biggest fear of my husband never getting better. We would lose our business. Our lives would never be the same again.
My friend could have dismissed my fears, he could have given me a pat on the back, said “it’ll be okay” and sent me on my way. He could have told me to go talk to someone else or to go figure things out on my own. Instead, he asked me a series a questions. Do I have electricity, today? Do I have food to eat, today? Is a sheriff going to come and evict us today? My friend didn’t want me to spend my time and energy fearful of the future, especially one that might not even happen. He wanted to me to focus on and be grateful for what I have today
“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 (NASB edition)
I wish I could say after the talk with my friend everything clicked into place, the veil was lifted and I never experienced a moment of worry again. Unfortunately that would be a lie. Even though talking to him made me feel a bit better, I continued to worry, had many more sleepless nights and experienced much anxiety over things for which I had no control. Simply put, I didn’t have enough faith that God was going to take care of us. I was trying to rely on myself instead of Him. Fortunately, God was going to show me that He would take care of us in spite of my doubts.
Throughout the next few weeks things began to change. After a lot of experimentation with diet changes, vitamins and herbal supplements, my husband started to get better. Some family members offered to help us with our medical bills while others helped us get caught up on household bills. We were able to put together a yard sale and made enough money for food and other necessities. A nearby church held a back to school supplies event and we were able to get school supplies for our kids. Eventually we were able to get back to work.
As I started to really take notice of the miracles that were happening, the message my friend had tried to give me finally started to sink in. I had spent so much time worrying, but God had been there the whole time. He had been testing my faith in Him, my trust in his promise of taking care of us.
Look at the birds of the sky, that they do not sow, nor reap, nor gather crops into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more important than they? Matthew 6:26 (NASB edition)
It’s been many years since that experience. Over time I came to realize that God hadn’t just been testing my faith, He was strengthening it. Unfortunately, it is a lesson I still sometimes struggle with. Fear is a powerful weapon and the devil uses it against us every chance he gets. It has gotten easier though. Whenever I notice myself start to feel anxious or worry about something, I remember my friend, who sadly passed away, and the wise words he told me that day. I think about those weeks of fruitless worry and sleepless nights and remember the way God took care of us.
There is a powerful lesson to be learned: When we allow worry and fear to paralyze us, we no longer see the blessings God has given us, we no longer have hope or see possibilities. When we choose instead to put our faith and trust in God then it becomes possible for the peace that only He can give to come over us. There is freedom in faith.
If you need or want a way to help deal with your own worry and stress, I created a journal to do just that. It isn’t a solution to your problems, it’s a reminder not to worry about tomorrow, to take each day as it comes, and that God and God alone is in control. God never promised that this life would be easy or free from pain and strife, He did however, promise that He would be with us each step of the way.