Chapter 9: Why Worry, part I
Worry is the polar opposite of faith. I am always baffled at the ongoing worry, stress and fretting among the so-called seasoned men and women of God. They read, and read, and read the Word yet they walk away every time with just as much fear as when they sat to read. Worry weakens faith; or rather, worry is the evidence faith is not present.
How might one accurately say, “I trust the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength” or better yet, “I believe the whole Word of God” but can’t have enough faith for Him to provide their needs. Worry makes the one who claims to be a follower of Christ look hypocritical to the spectators of the world around them. What hypocrites we are when we proclaim faith that Christ is real yet don’t believe Him for any sort of miracle. In my estimation, there are very few among the multitudes who call themselves “Christians” who actually believe in the God they proclaim.
It’s incredibly easy to praise God and give Him all the glory when things are going really well, but throw in a little wind that lasts longer than 30 minutes and panic ensues. Jesus said to His closest comrades, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Is He saying the same to you? If He is, it isn’t to condemn or guilt you, but to bring you to reconciliation that He is who He says He is and has given His church power over the enemy. He allows the struggles of life to first reveal how little faith we possess and, secondly, to produce much needed faith. Thirdly, in the trials and strengthening of our faith, He is able to glorify Himself when He presents Himself sovereign when all else fails.
Worry is the catalyst for Satan to run rampant in your life. Worry is the adversary to faith. Anxieties, fears, and distresses reveal where we are not with God. They are the factual expression of how we really feel about God. They are of the flesh, not the Spirit. Instead of condemning yourself when this happens, encourage yourself in the Lord so as to usher in much needed faith. Beating yourself up only further exacerbates your dilemma. Learn to discipline yourself so as to refresh your memory of how God has moved on your behalf in the past. Your situation is temporal but God is forever and ever. E.g. when you’re in fear, remind yourself, “Christ is my strength and my salvation. There is none I shall fear. He is my rock and my stronghold.”
It is never God’s desire or mission to shame you but to encourage and persuade you to trust Him. Nothing is for nothing and everything is for something. Find out God’s “something” in your trials. If you ask with a genuine heart so as to discover, He will reveal Himself to you in the most personal way. Take the time to seek that you may find your way through the wilderness. God is sovereign and “shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).”
The “according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” is revealing. Again, the “shall supply” is not that He must suddenly create something for you, but that, because of what is already created in the riches of Christ, He will get it to you in perfect timing. What you need, He’s already produced in the heavenly realm; Heaven is the storeroom for what you need ushered down to Earth. Walk according to faith and you’ll see things work for good for those who love Him. It may not manifest physically the way you would choose, but His ways are infinitely supreme to that which we can think or imagine.
“Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life (Revelation 2:10, NAS).”
Hebrews 11:1, 6: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval…without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
Some of my all-time favorite Scriptures are found within the confines of Hebrews 11. When I first returned to the Lord nearly 18 years ago, I poured over these so as to learn how God views faith, what faith is at its core. All these years later, I am having my faith tested around every bend, one thing after another, after another. There are moments when it feels as though the roof above me is caving and the floor beneath me is sinking. But, I thank God I don’t function in feelings but in faith. Ninety-nine times out of one hundred, feelings are not in sync with the Kingdom of Heaven.
Michael’s job has had threats of termination for at least a year, but that didn’t bother me, not once. Wednesday, he was terminated; that didn’t move me to fear. We found stachybotris black mold in our home two years ago and had to find money, even after insurance, so as to make the necessary alterations to a 1/3 of our home. No fear. Now we discover we still have mold in our home causing Sophia’s illnesses and insurance will not pay. No fear. Numerous issues have transpired over the last 6 or so years and I have been unwavering in my faith in our Mighty God. But, as I live and breathe, nothing has tested my faith more than having our child’s life in peril. I would venture to say that, for any parent worth their salt, whether there is imminent danger such as cancer or heart disease, or chronic illness that never seems to end, faith is always on the line in an inexplicable form.
I would go strongly, unshakable in my faith long stretches without a wince of fear but, in a moment of absolute frustration and sorrow watching my child suffer day in and day out, believe me, I had flickers of doubt. They never lasted long as I would quickly realign my mind, heart and spirit with Holy Spirit, but they would appear nonetheless. I love II Timothy 2:13, “If we are faithless, He is faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” Spectacular! My God is always faithful. When I look at my beautiful teenage daughter, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness. She’s alive, whether sick or well. There’s hope. We are here on Planet Earth another day, there’s hope. God is alive and stronger than any danger we may face, there’s Hope.
Fortunately, my hope is not on man’s version of limited hope which is utterly fickle and fluctuates according to how I feel in any given moment. No, my hope is living; it is alive through Jesus the Christ. My faith is not in medicine, doctors, nurses, or anything made by hands of man. Though God may well move for a time through the aforementioned, God is the only healer and comforter. In Him I always rejoice! My faith is anchored in Christ alone, the One who created Sophia. Through it all, both mine and Michael’s faith have soared to places I didn’t know existed until we began this journey with a chronically ill child. Do not lose faith. God is faithful. He has never forsaken us and He has not forsaken you.
I Peter 1:3-9: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
“You have put gladness in my heart, more than when their grain and new wine abound” (Psalm 4:7, NAS).
“Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones; and shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart” (Psalm 32:11, NAS).
“You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of joy above your fellows” (Psalm 45:7, NAS).
Strength and power in Christ come from your confidence being completely placed in Christ. With this, you can then walk in absolute power, authority, joy, peace, patience, boldness, courage, humility, love, contentment and so much more in every circumstance.
The world pushes confidence, but it is always in the flesh and the things of this world. God pushes confidence, but in Him and in your identity that comes only from being hidden in Christ. The world’s confidence comes from stature, money, looks, education, etc.—anything other than God and the blood of Christ. It is false and leads to a life of sure destruction. In fact, it is not confidence at all, but rather insecurity at the root because a secure person needs no prove anything to anyone – they just are, with or without worldly possessions. Furthermore, the world’s confidence incites greed, hatred, every evil lust of the flesh, and provokes one to fight and kill for what they want or want to keep. They must always be more powerful, richer, more beautiful, more successful, more, more, more—never content with anything. They are eating, yet never satisfied (Micah 6:14). They are always fearful that, no matter how much they attain, they will lose it; and if they lose it, they will be worthless.
Paul is one of the greatest examples of an imitator of Christ that I can see. Although the Word states that he was a “defender of the gospel” (Philippians 1:16-17), this does not mean he went around arguing with others about his religious beliefs. He was humble at all times and was genuinely concerned for the well-being of God’s people. He walked in love, compassion, and patience. This could only be as he was keenly aware of his identity in Christ—his confidence in the faithfulness of God’s promises. Real identity in Christ is knowing, not just that you are blood-bought, but that in being blood-bought, all promises are real, true, and trustworthy until death and they belong to YOU. Paul defended the Word by allowing the character of God to be displayed through him.
For I am confident of this very thing…I want you to know…to be sure…for I know…according to my earnest expectation and hope…convinced of this…I hope in the Lord Jesus…trust in the Lord…be anxious for nothing.
Philippians 1:6, 12, 15, 19, 20, 25; 2:19, 23, 24; 4:6 (NAS)
Though many quote Philippians 1:11 where Paul learned to be content in all circumstances, most miss the fact that he could only be this way in confidently knowing that God is faithful to His own. He knew that he would never be without God. It says he learned to be content. He could not learn if there were no trials and tests to stretch him in this area. Also, the first part of that verse says, “Not that I speak from want.” Not only did he need nothing, he wanted for nothing! When all you want is Jesus, the things of this world become to you as nothing – worthless.
In becoming confident in the King’s faithfulness in all situations, all needs were dissolved. This happened through believing, trusting, and placing his full faith in that, if in the natural there were a real need, he knew he need only await the arrival of provision in God’s perfect timing. Faith destroys lack. Faith through confidence in him allows you to call forth the things that are not as though they were until they are!
Love, peace, and blessings!