Bible Reading: Matthew 6:34

Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Matthew 6:34

AS YOU THINK about the upcoming New Year, are you worried about what might happen? Are you afraid of a worldwide economic collapse, sending humankind back to bartering chickens? Are you tense that you might be asphyxiated by pollution or vaporized by another terrorist attack?

You can worry all you want about those things, but it won’t do you any good.  Just look at what a few wise people say about the futility of worry:

  • Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.  Leo Buscaglia
  • Worrying is wasting today’s time cluttering up tomorrow’s opportunities with yesterday’s troubles. Anonymous
  • Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia. Charles Schultz

The most significant word about worry, of course, comes from Jesus. His in­struction? Don’t. Paul echoed that thought in Philippians 4:6: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” The apostle Peter adds, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Sure, there will be plenty of things about next year you won’t like-natural di­sasters, world tension, community strife, and conflicts with parents or friends. God never promised you a life without problems. And when scary things loom, you feel a sudden knot of worry in the pit of your stomach that paralyzes you.

That knot is your internal reminder that it’s time to pray. When you feel yourself wound tight with anxiety, don’t let it paralyze you. Instead, let it prayer-alyze you. Tell God straight up how you feel. Fill him in on all the issues or people or circum­stances that worry you. Invite him to take control of them and you. Keep praying un­til the anxiety settles down. And when your nervousness comes back, pray again … and again … and again.

When you interpret worry as a natural nudge to pray instead of an impossible burden to carry, troubling circumstances won’t be so scary. You won’t see them as incidents that terrify. You will take them as opportunities for God to work as you hand them over to him in prayer.

REFLECT: What worries you most about the next few days? The next month? The next year?

PRAY: Cast all your concerns on God, because he cares for you.