Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. – Albert Einstein
Lately I’ve been struggling a lot with worry. I won’t go into the details, other than to say it has to do with finding a new house because we decided not to renew the lease on our current house. Blah, blah, school districts, blah, blah, banks, etc. The point is, I’m regularly battling the temptation to give in to the sin of worry.
In the midst of all the worry, I’ve come to a conclusion: worry is the stupidest sin of them all.
Other sins at least have a “pay off” of sorts, albeit a shallow one at that. When a man is a glutton, he gets a buffet out of it. When a woman is greedy, she gets a fatter bank account. When a man gives in to lust, he gets some measure of sexual gratification. When a woman screams in anger, she gets some cathartic release. When a guy gets drunk, he gets to enjoy a 24 pack of Budweiser in the process. I’m not trying to minimize the consequences of sin, I’m just saying that these sins give something in return.
You know what worry has given back to me? A big fat NOTHING! My worrying and fretting has changed exactly zero percent of my circumstances. And yet I keep worrying. You might want to call the guys with the white jackets, because I keep doing the same thing again and again, expecting different results.
Why do I repeatedly give in to the sin of worry? I think it’s because worry gives me the feeling that I am somehow in control. Like if I think and scheme and worry enough, I can somehow control the various outcomes on the table. Of course, this is stupidity turned up to 11 (see Spinal Tap). I can barely control the characters in the video games I play, let alone any actual real life circumstances.
Jesus spoke directly to my worrisome stupidity when he said:
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? (Matthew 6:27)
My worrying can’t add a single hour to my life or a single dollar to my budget. The reality I need to come to terms with is that I am absolutely not in control of my life. I am not the captain of my soul, the charter of my course. I am weak, worn out, tired, broken down, and in need of someone to take me by the hand.
The good news is, I know the One who is in control of both my life and the entire universe, and I call him “Abba, Father”. My Father loves me and has given a solemn oath that he will take care of me.
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-33)
My Father knows that I need food to eat, clothes to wear, and a house to live in. This is not new information to him. It’s not like he suddenly realized, “Woah, things have gotten a little out of control in Stephen’s life. I better do something about that.” My Father knows exactly what I need, long before I even know that I need it.
God also knows exactly how he will meet each of my needs. I try to figure out how everything will work out. “If we get into this house by this date and we’re in this school district, then everything will work out just fine.” Most of the time my predictions are wrong. But God doesn’t get his predictions wrong because he creates the future. He knows exactly how and when he will meet all my needs.
I know in my head that God will take care of me. The question is, do I believe it?
You believe in God for your soul. Believe in him about your property. Believe in God about your sick wife or your dying child. Believe in God about your losses and bad debts and declining business. – Spurgeon