A Life Without Worry
It is quite generally recognized that anxiety and fear and dread are working havoc with us.
Many panaceas are being offered for the cure of worry, but our God offers us a remedy that is very simple, yet very sure. It is a remedy which, if we would accept it, will deliver us from all care and fear, and worry would become unknown to us. Not only so, but we would be such a testimony to the world and fellow saints that the name of God would be glorified and the greatness of His grace manifested.
The Cause of a Life Without Worry
The reason given for living without worry is very simple:—“The Lord is at hand.” That may mean either He is at hand in the sense of Hebrews 5:6, “He will never leave us nor forsake us.” He will be constantly and continuously by our side; even though we may leave His path He will never leave ours. Or, on the other hand, it may mean He is at hand in the sense of Philippians 3:20: “We look for the Saviour,” which speaks of His imminent coming for His own; and He may so come before the benediction is pronounced in this service. Instructed Christians live with the daily expectation and possibility of the coming of the Lord. Either of these two senses may be accepted and either will be sufficient cause for a life without worry for the Christian.
We believe He is at hand, but do we act upon what we believe? And there are thousands of Christians who will subscribe to such statements as, “I believe the Lord is my Shepherd and Saviour. I believe that He is constantly present. I believe He is most deeply interested in me and my welfare.” Well, then, what cause is there for anyone who believes such things to worry? If the Lord is at hand, is He not sufficient for every circumstance? Is He not able to take care of any experience? And, if we take the second meaning, that He is at hand in the sense that He may come for us at any moment, what difference will it make tomorrow at this hour what our cares are now? Should He so come, all the troubles would be left behind. This then is the cause of a life without worry:—not only the acceptance of the truth as some creedal statement, but an acceptance of it which results in our acting upon what we believe, “The Lord is at hand.”
The Character of a Life Without Worry
It will be a care-less, not careless life; a life lived care-lessly but carefully. “Be careful for nothing,” or, as it may be rendered, “Let no anxious care trouble you,” or, “Be anxious about nothing.” It means to preserve a carelessness through all the discouraging things of life; to maintain the poise in all the wear and tear of life; and to live with confidence and assurance in the midst of the stress and strain of life.
Such an exhortation is most surprising when we think of the sin within ourselves. But, “Be anxious for nothing,” even this. Do not allow it to trouble you, because it has already troubled your Sin-bearer once for all. “He, His own self, bare our sins in His own body on the tree.” All our sins of yesterday, and today, and tomorrow, were gathered up by our God and laid upon the Lamb of God at the cross on Calvary. Instead of being worried by our sins let us rather joyously sing,
“My sins, O the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sins, not in part, but the whole,
Were nailed to the cross, and I bear them no more,
It is well; it is well; with my soul.”
The truth of this is so great that we fail to use it, but we should revel in it, rejoicing in the power and comfort of it. Let me quote a verse or two of Scripture, spoken by our Lord, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice. Let not your heart be troubled…” Thus He spake to Peter on that fateful night so long ago, and thus He would speak to us today.
Again, such an exhortation is most surprising when we think of the circumstances in which we often find ourselves. Experiences come to each of us that are hard and bitter, and the road we travel becomes rough and difficult, and the burden gets seemingly just a bit too heavy for us; and perchance, added to all else, our hearts are suddenly overwhelmed with deep sorrow. How surprising that the Lord should say, “Let no anxious care trouble you,” or “Don’t worry.” We are tempted to reply, “That is all right for the one without any cares; it is all right when the sun shines and the day is gay, and circumstances are all joyous; it is all right then to say “Don’t worry.” But when the business is slipping, or when the health fails, or when the friends turn their backs, or when the loved ones are taken, it is mockery to say “Don’t worry.” But, is the Shepherd with us only in the glad day? Does He leave us when the shadows gather? Is He interested only in our joys, and giving no thought to our sorrows? Is He “at hand,” or is He far off from us? Has He no balm for the aching heart? Ah, yes, He has, and because He has He can say “Let no anxious care trouble you.”
And that word is really a command; “don’t worry.” It is therefore wicked to worry. It is against all the lessons of nature; the birds and the beasts do not worry about tomorrow. And it is against all the lessons of revelation. Think of Elisha at Dothan, he saw all that the servant saw, PLUS. He saw the unseen, and might have said “The Lord is at hand.” Think of Elijah beside the failing brook; he saw what was behind that drying brook and he knew “The Lord is at hand.” Think of Daniel facing that den of lions; he too saw what was in that den and might have said, “The Lord is at hand.” Think of those three Hebrews marching into the furnace heated seven times over; they also saw something more in that furnace than the flames and might have said, “The Lord is at hand.” And we this morning can have the comfort and blessing of the same truth and, in the midst of the den, or beside the failing brook, or in the furnace that threatens our destruction, we too can rest in the assurance, “The Lord is at hand,” and be through with the worry. I wonder if we really meant what we were singing a few moments ago?
“Care and doubting, gloom and sorrow,
Fear and shame, are mine no more.
Faith knows nought of dark tomorrow.
For my Saviour goes before.”
Moreover the life without worry will be a prayerful life. “In everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known…” We should note that the prayer spoken of here does not refer to the plea of a beggar but to the prayer of a child. We do not beg, and certainly we may not demand, but, with the confidence of a child we go to God our Father with all our requests. The beggar comes to the back door and takes the left overs; the child says, “Give me some bread and butter,” and perhaps adds, “Put some jam on it too.”
And the supplication is the emergency prayer, called forth by sudden need, when the appalling thing happens for which we are not prepared. Like Peter as he sank beneath the waves, “Lord save me”; or Nehemiah saying, “Then I prayed to the God of heaven and I said to the king.” Neither Peter nor Nehemiah had time to compose a prayer, theirs was supplication. But we must remember that we shall never be emergency prayers until we are chronic prayers. One of the most disturbed letters ever received came to me not long ago; my friend was at the end of his rope, he was worried and distraught, almost in despair. Shortly afterward another letter came, one of the most joyous ever received, and in the last my friend said, “The Lord has been gracious to me. And never before did I realize that I had been an acute prayer, henceforth I will be a chronic prayer.” He meant that formerly he had had only acute attacks of prayer but now he would be praying without ceasing.”
Again, the life without worry will be a thankful life. The text says, “With thanksgiving.” The little boy takes his broken watch to his father and receives his father’s promise that it will be fixed. He says, “Thank you, dad,” and goes about his play. He thanks his father because he believes the promise and knows the ability of the father to do what is promised. We too may trust our Father’s ability and rely upon our Father’s promise, and give Him thanks before the thing is done. We remember that when God gave Abraham his great promise that Sarah heard and laughed at the idea. It may have seemed as though God was mocking her old age, but then God said to Abraham, What is Sarah laughing for? “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” What would we reply to that question this morning? Is there anything in our lives that is too hard for our Lord? No? Well then, let us stop our worrying in the knowledge that “The Lord is at hand.”
The Consequence of a Life Without Worry
“The peace of God that passeth understanding shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” In such hearts and minds there will be no anxious care, and worry will have no place. Perhaps there may be no direct answer to prayer, maybe there will come no change in the circumstances, but the worry will be gone and in its place “the peace of God that passeth understanding.” That is His promise. Do we really believe that promise this morning?
Not peace with God; that is for the conscience. But the peace of God, the peace that God Himself enjoys, may be ours. We cannot conceive of God being worried concerning what will happen tomorrow, or what has happened yesterday, or what is happening today. His peace is such that nothing can ruffle or disturb. He will not be overcome, nor will He ever be taken by surprise by anything that could occur. And His peace may be ours. We believe the promise, will we act upon it? We have come here with all our varied burdens and cares and fears and sorrows. We all need God’s peace, and thank God, we all may have it.
What a testimony to all with whom we come in contact if we march out of here this morning, calm and quiet, confident and poised, reveling in the peace of God. What a testimony to the sufficiency of His grace. The line of the old hymn is true today, “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.”
We hear our Lord saying, “Come unto me,…and I will give you rest.” Both sinner and saint are included in this. Bring Him your burdened heart and worried soul, and He will give you rest. “The Lord is at hand.” “Be anxious for nothing.” “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts.”