Posts tagged ‘Anxiety’

God Is Willing to Wait

Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it?  Luke 15:8

Jesus told three stories in Luke 15 to describe God’s love for humanity. We are like sheep in one story and like sons in another story. But in this story we are like a single insignificant coin except for the fact that this coin belonged to a woman who only has 10 of them. That would be the equivalent of wages for 10 days. According to US government statistics, the average daily wage in America today is $170.00. So let’s say that you have $1700.00 to your name. Nothing more. You don’t have a job. You don’t have a family. You are alone in the world. If you lost 10% of your income, would you look for it? It is your life’s savings. It is all you have to survive.

I have lost my wallet several times in my life. But the one that stands out is when I lost it after filling my car up with gas. When I arrived home I didn’t have my wallet. I was panicked because I had $300.00 in it and all of my credit cards. I immediately drove back to the gas station. But the wallet was not there. So I went back home and searched every corner, every closet, every trash can, every place in the entire house. But the wallet was not there. I couldn’t think about anything else. Where could it be? I was extremely anxious even though I was a physician making a good wage. Losing $300.00 wouldn’t affect my lifestyle in the least.

In the story Jesus tells us about His Father, we see that His lifestyle is impacted by the loss of even one person. When it comes to you and me, God puts all of His efforts into finding us. Imagine God being anxious, even panicked, over losing you. Imagine God feeling this way since the day Adam & Eve ate of the fruit and hid from Him when He went to the Garden to have a chat with them. Yes, since that very day the God of the universe became anxious and single-minded in His efforts to find His lost coins – you and me. 

A few hours after I lost my wallet, I received a phone call from the man who had found it. I went to his home and he asked for a reward as he handed my the wallet to me. I gave the man $100.00. God gave us His Son. Obviously, my relief at finding my wallet was not near as important to me as God’s relief in finding you or me. In this parable, Jesus gives us a picture of God that is truly remarkable. He is anxious every time we hide from Him.

The truly amazing thing is that God is still lighting lamps today to find His lost coins. Anyone who accepts the Light of Jesus in her or his life becomes a light to find others. God is constantly seeking, constantly looking, constantly lighting the lives of men and women to find every last person who can possibly be found. I think this is what God is waiting for. He is more anxious about those who are still lost than He is about the delay in reuniting with those who have been found. God is willing to wait… for you.

Is it Wrong to Worry?

I must admit that I have done my fair share of worrying in my life. When I was a student, I worried about my grades. When I was a staff physician at my first assignment after an OBGYN residency, I worried about my ability and knowledge to take care of any crisis that might arrive. When I was in private practice I worried about the business of medicine. When I had a slow day I worried about not having enough patients. When I had a busy day I worried that I wouldn’t be able keep up. As a father, I worried (and still do) about my children.

Worry seems to be a universal problem. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 40 million Americans worry so much that they have an anxiety disorder. In other words, they worry so much that they need some kind of treatment to function normally. Many self-medicate with alcohol and street drugs. The medical profession recommends psychotherapy and prescription drugs. What does God recommend?

In Matthew 6:25 Jesus said“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” This is easier said than done! The Greek word for “life” that Jesus uses here means my inner life, who I am, my whole being. Just prior to this statement, Jesus told His audience they could not have two masters. This is still true today. Jesus tells us we must choose between God and money. Money! Not the devil. Not my schedule. Not my kids. MONEY! There’s something about money that is at the very core of our worry and anxiety.

Could it be that money as used by Jesus represents our desire to control our own lives? If you have enough money, no one cares about your grades or if you even graduated. If you have enough money, you don’t even need to work. If you have enough money, you can buy happiness for your children. If you have enough money, you don’t have any worries. Or at least that’s what the world tells you. But Jesus exposes this statement as the myth it is. When you want to control your own life, money becomes the source of your anxiety and worry! That’s because you can never truly control anything except your choice of masters. When you choose Jesus as the Lord of your life, you have peace because you know He is in control. When you choose to be in control, then worry rather than peace fills your life and money rather than Jesus poses as your god.

So next time you begin to worry, stop. Ask yourself, Who is in control? What is the source of my worry? What’s the worst that can happen? And then go to the Source of life. Seek His advice. Yes, use worry a a signal alerting you to PRAY. Is worry wrong? I’ll let you answer that question as I encourage you to consider Paul’s inspired advice:

do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

 

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