That’s the question that kept my mind busy the other morning. I hadn’t slept well because I’d woken up several times and thought about the people stranded by Hurricane Harvey. The next day, as I walked through the neighborhood, I found myself worrying about the people involved and the financial cost to Houston, to our state, and to our country. I worried about friends who might suffer, and then I worried about doing my part to help. Then I worried that I was worrying—because Jesus told me not to. That thought led me to wonder if Jesus ever worried. I couldn’t think of a time in Scripture when he did.
Jesus told his disciples not to worry (Luke 12:22). Paul told the Philippians, “Do not be anxious about anything” (Philippians. 4:6). Proverbs 12:25 says, “an anxious heart weighs a man down.” When Jesus told his disciples not to worry, it was a command. So, if worry is breaking a command, then Jesus didn’t worry.
Jesus sweat drops of blood in the garden, so we know he was suffering anguish in his soul. So, there must be a difference between worry and anguish. Why is worry a sin but anguish isn’t? We know Jesus grieved. He wept over Jerusalem and at the tomb of Lazarus. So, we know that grief is not a sin or a lack of faith because Scripture records those moments for us. But there isn’t a passage that describes Jesus as worried. Jesus was fully human as well as fully God, so how did he keep himself from worry? How did he teach us to do the same?
The biblical response to worry is to turn from it. The word repent means to turn and go the opposite direction. When we worry, we should turn our thoughts in the opposite direction. What is the opposite of worry?
- Faith in the power and sovereignty of God. Whatever happens, God is big enough to handle it.
- Hope in the promise of heaven. This world will always have storms, but heaven has none.• Cast our cares on Jesus. Think of worries as a bucket of trash that Jesus told us to toss at his feet. There’s never a reason to return and bring that trash back home.
- Rest and remember. Spiritual strength is found in quiet and restful meditation. There is a reason we live in a fast-paced world. Satan encourages us to be over-busy with good things so we will ignore the God-things. Remember what Jesus has said and ignore other thoughts.
- Contentment is an opposite of worry. Like the hymn teaches, count your blessings and name them one by one. Even on the worst of days, we still have blessings to claim.
- Peacefully work out your plans with God. There is ministry to do, compassion to give, and people who need God. Focus on what God is doing, and doing through you, and there will be less time to worry about lesser things.
Jesus didn’t worry, and he didn’t want us to worry either. If anyone had a reason to worry it was Jesus—but he didn’t. Jesus could have worried about the Pharisees but chose to work around them. Jesus could have worried about his disciples, but he called them to service anyway. Jesus could have worried about his mom, but he simply entrusted her to his best friend. Jesus could have worried about all of us, but he died for us instead.
If you are reading these words, you have a worry or two, or twelve. Cast those worries at the feet of Jesus and refuse to bring the refuse back home. Worry has a way of getting toxic. Jesus didn’t worry, and we shouldn’t either. I like to picture Jesus whispering in our ears, “Relax . . . I’ve got you.”
I think the next time I take a walk, I’ll just enjoy the time with God and count my blessings. I wish the same for you.