The phone call comes. Hard news on the other end of the line. I listen and nod. By the time I hang up I feel a weight on my shoulders, like it all depends on me. I begin to worry. This is what I can do, isn’t it? I can carry this around like a dog with an old bone. I can gnaw and twist, bury it and dig it up again. Surely this will be helpful; certainly this will save the day.
But into that place of fear there comes a God-whisper in my heart: Your worry cannot change the world, only I can.
Luke 12:25 says, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”
Who of us by worrying can make the prodigal come home, the marriage be restored, the meeting go well, the weight come off, the lights come on, the kids stay safe, the wrong be undone, the project turn out right?
Worry is seductive because it feels like control. If we are worrying, then we must be taking action. We must be turning the tide. But this is only a distraction and deception. It’s a shiny object for us to chase to keep us from going to the One who can actually get it done.
When I realize this, it doesn’t feel like a rebuke; it feels like a relief. Jesus, in all His gentleness and kindness, His extravagant mercy and care, has taken the boulder from my hands and said, “It doesn’t depend on you.” As I picture this, I see the scars on His own palms, hear His voice on the cross saying, “It is finished.”
Isn’t that what we really want to know? That someone is taking care of it, of them, of the situation, the circumstance, the thing that makes us make our pillow soggy with salty tears. This is what God says He will do. He will look out for the sparrows with their wispy feathers and fragile bones. And for us too, with our tender hearts and glass lives.
And even when the worst comes, when everything shatters, He can make it (and us) whole again.
After the call, I sit on the edge of my bed and listen to a song, headphones in my ears, hands folded on my lap. I whisper, “God, I release this person I love to You.” I add more words, requests, and hopes. I will say this again in the kitchen, in the car, as I sit in a coffee shop. Because it takes more than one time to win the battle against worry. It’s an ongoing choice, one we falter with often. This is all right because Jesus understands what it is to be human.
What frees our hearts isn’t worry; it’s worship. In other words, taking all the hard things to Someone who cares for us. Choosing to trust and let go. Believing through the blood, sweat, and tears, He will mysteriously work it all together for good.
Here’s what we can rest in today: The only One who has ever been able to bear the weight of the world on His shoulders is still strong and loving enough to carry all that concerns us too.
If you need a little extra encouragement right now, Holley has a wonderful resource: What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days: 52 Encouraging Truths to Hold On To
Even when the worst comes, when everything shatters, He can make it (and us) whole again. -@HolleyGerth: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Your post reminds me of the saying that worry is like rocking in a rocking chair – you’re doing something, but you aren’t getting anywhere. I’m prone to rocking. If I listen to the news or medical reports too long, I can feel the anxiety rise up, tsunami-like, from my toes. The best remedy, for me, is to turn my eyes to, and think upon whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. I need to go to His word, claim His strength, lean into Him, and continue to praise Him. That, to me, is the only fail safe recipe. Thank you for the reminder of that truth here this am.
Michele Morin says
Worry is hard work, but it’s completely unproductive. So ironic that it’s my default when I have the option of prayer–which lays my concerns at the feet of an all-powerful God.
Thank you, Holley, for wise words that reset my thinking.
Beautifully articulate- I have gained a sense of comfort from your words. I need to go and share my worries my burdens with Jesus. I cannot nor should I try to work this out on my own! Life is very strange at the moment. We are all in lockdown and this does bring feelings of worry and anxiety about many things none of which we have any control over. I know where I’m headed straight to Him with my concerns.
Ann Woleben says
Thank you for your words of comfort. It is so easy to allow worry to creep in with the current status of our world. Everything I have read this morning through scripture and my devotionals reminds me to turn the worries over to God. He can handle it. Faith, trust, love.
yes.. worry decieves us greatly into thinking we have some emotional control over horrible situations. we don’t.. I have come to learn that building up confusion and anxiety leaves little room for God to speak. it silences his voice..it shuts him out when we have to be on top of things, even in our own destructive way.
I’ve learned to stop.. think..clarify the situation without emotion.. then think on what I’m facing. then before all else..pray.
I have lived thru alot and clarifying the situation without wound up emotions always gives God room to move in it.
remember the enemy loves chaos !
Needed this reminder this morning. As a firstborn, I tend to carry the weight of feeling responsible for the hearts of my whole family. We’ve had some heart ache recently with losing family and not being able to care for my elderly mom in assisted living. I’m having to give it all to the Lord again everyday. I know that He is far more capable than I am, but I still struggle.
Maggie R says
Thank you Holley. I never thought of worry as a distraction from Jesus, but it certainly is. I love when Jesus talks about sparrows, for they are just little brown birds that don’t call much attention like the dramatic colorful ones, yet He is mindful of them at all times. God bless you
Holly for reminding us not to worry in the midst of what we’re all going through, in the midst of this uncertain times. It is normal for me to be thinking ” are we going to have enough funds to cover the bills?” What if?… what’s going to happen next?
But the good Lord takes care of us all, even the sparrow “who doesn’t sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns”. The Almighty Father feeds them. We are more valuable than sparrows, therefore we should not fear.
I thank God for this reassurance! And thank you Holly for being a messenger of faith!
May God continue to bless us all!
Mary Geisen says
I’m the person who can carry worry like a champion. My mom was the same way. However, my shoulders are not wide enough or strong enough and I am learning that much of what I think I should carry is God’s to hold and take care of. I appreciate the reminder that it is hard and takes multiple times of letting it go to God to finally release it. Thank you, Holley, for these words today.
Heather P. says
This is a very timely message, and perfect for all the chaos happening right now! Being in the middle of a pandemic, it’s a bit hard not to worry right now. I love where you say, “Worry is seductive because it feels like control. If we are worrying, then we must be taking action.” That is how so many people are thinking right now; if I do this, or don’t do that, then I will stay safe. But life doesn’t work that way.
Trying desperately to stay in control of our lives and the world will leave us exhausted and disillusioned. As you say, the only thing that really works is not to chase worry and control, but to go to God, the One who can comfort us, and the One who is really in control! Thank you for this message!
Beth Williams says
We women, especially, are prone to worry. We hear something & think the worst case scenario. Fortunately I’m not prone to doing that. When my dad had to be put in geriatric psych hospital for second time-I could not stand going through that again. The next morning I got up found You Tube & clicked on Stephen C. Chapman & started dancing in my kitchen. I didn’t want to think about what he was going through. It calmed my soul & I had worship time. Right now people are in panic mode. Truth is all they need to do is pray to God & let Him handle all this. Have a healthy respect for the virus & how to stay safe. Time for prayer asking him to make us whole & back to normal.
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Holly I have good friend in fact my best friend who bought me a plaugh. It says Hang on the Cross. With other words. Like if you have a secret sorrow a burden or loss, An aching need for healing
HANG IT ON THE CROSS
If worry steal your sleep
and make you turn and toss,
If your heart is feeling heavy. ..
HANG IT ON THE CROSS
Every obstacle faith
or doubt you come across ,
Every prayer unanswered
HANG IT ON THE CROSS
For Christ has borne our brokenness
and dearly paid the cost
To turn our trials to triumph. …
HANG IT ON THE CROSS
How true this is. It speaks alot to me what it says is so true. Especially in theses days we live in. As we serve a big big mighty God. Who want us to Hang everything on the cross. Plus also say JESUS JESUS JESUS IN THESE DAYS NOT CORONA CORONA CORONA. SING HANG IT ON THE CROSS OF JESUS. PLUS MORE READING JESUS WORD THE BIBLE AND PRAYER ESPECIALLY IN THESE DAYS. NOT LET WORRY FILL OUR MINDS. LIKE THE DEVIL WOULD WANT US TO DO. Love your word today Holly. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xxx
Nancy Ruegg says
Holley, thank you for the reminder to worship instead of worry. A number of years ago, Ruth Graham wrote, “Worship and worry cannot exist at the same time in the same heart. They are mutually exclusive.” Worship reminds me that God is in control and He’s much more capable than I am to plan and carry out the best outcomes.
Well, this hit me like a ton of bricks! I never linked worry and control, yet it makes all the sense in the world. When I think back on years of worry, I can see now it had everything to do with me attempting to orchestrate a solution and ultimately failing. Holly, thank you for this message at just the right time. I am grateful.
Holley Gerth says
Thanks for being here and reading, friends. We will get through this together!