“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT)
Have you ever seen someone choking? It’s a scary moment. Years ago, some friends’ child choked on a hot dog as a baby; they didn’t know he couldn’t breathe until he was turning blue!
A friend of mine started waving frantically at dinner one night. When we realized it wasn’t a game of charades, I whacked him on the back and he coughed up the food that was choking him.
Choking and worrying are similar.
In fact, our English word “worry” comes from the Old English wyrgen which means to strangle or choke. Worries strangle us. In Paul’s next verse, he says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8, NLT)
That’s how life should be! When those wonderful, happy, helpful thoughts are foremost in our minds, it’s like having a free airway to our lungs. We can take deep, full breaths. We can relax. We can be at peace. But worry comes in like a bit of hot dog; blocks the airway and shuts off the oxygen. Worry’ll kill us.
And there are so many things to worry about…so many things that will strangle us! Money, economy, politics, terrorists, marriage, kids, job, health [take deep breath].
This summer my wife was teaching kids at Vacation Bible School about Mary and Martha. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet while Martha played hostess. After Martha’s complaint, Jesus said she shouldn’t worry so much. My wife’s lesson was about giving our worries to God. We had the kids fill out a “worry thermometer” to gauge the level of their worries. They were to color the things they worry about in red. Beautiful little children…there was way too much red!
Then my wife had them write “Jesus” atop the page to remind them who can take their worries, hold it to their hearts, and we prayed.
I’m going to do that for you now: “Jesus, thank you that you call the weary and burdened…and the worried. I ask you to take the worries from us, help us trust you more and open up our spiritual and emotional airways so we can breathe! We need your peace to guard our hearts and minds. Thank you, Jesus, for caring about us! Amen.
I’m reminded of the sign in front of the church: “Don’t let worry kill you! Let the church help!” I’ll see you in church!
Jim Mann, Ph.D. pastors New Life Church at Robson Ranch. This interdenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. Visit New Life’s website www.NewLifeDenton.org for more information.