Written by Jonathan Gamble / December 2016
As I wrote this article, I was sitting in the airport attempting to fly stand-by. Flying stand-by, you really don’t know if you’re going to be able to get on the plane until 5 minutes before it leaves. As you can imagine, it is easy to fall to stress. I had been unable to board two flights already (after my original flight, my best chance, was cancelled). I took off work on that day to try and fly down and see a dear friend, and instead spent all day sitting in the airport (I did not end up making a flight). However, I was not worried or stressed.
All of us are familiar with stress. That feeling we get when a paper is due the next day (and it’s not done), a big test is coming up, or some drama is going on between our friends. That feeling we get when we are running behind or trying to do something difficult (like flying stand-by). Stressing out (worrying) is a very natural human reaction to demanding conditions or unfortunate circumstances. Although, we know it is a sign of mistrust in God, and consequently is wrong. We are told very clearly that we are to trust in God instead of our own understandings. Proverbs 3:5:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding
God tells us to give all of our worries and stresses to Him, because Jesus already felt the weight of them for us, on the cross.
While we know it to be true that we are to always trust in God, we also know it is normal for people of this world to stress out about things. However, we are in this world, not of it, as we are told multiple times in the Bible. For example, consider John 15:19:
If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
This passage, spoken by Jesus to his disciples, tells us clearly that we are not of the world, but chosen out of the world by God. So while stressing out is normal for people of this world, we are not of this world. Instead of stressing out, we are told by God what we should do in a tough situation. We are told what to do with our stress by 1 Peter 5:7:
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
We are to cast all our anxiety on Him. We are to trust Him wholly. We don’t have to feel the weight of our worries. God tells us to give all of our worries and stresses to Him, because Jesus already felt the weight of them for us, on the cross. All our worries were there with Him, died with Him, and disappeared, just as He disappeared from the tomb. We can not worry our problems away, but Jesus has taken care of them on the cross and soothes our anxieties today. He can, He wants to, and He will. We should obey Him and give our worries up to Him. Worrying is wrong, and on top of that, it never really helped a problem anyway, at least in my experience. If there is nothing we can do about a problem, it is no help to worry and stress out over it. If we are able to do something about a problem, there is no reason to worry or stress out. There is a difference, however, between trusting in God and ignoring our responsibilities. While we should not worry, we should still work. Man was put here to work, after all. Genesis 2:15 confirms this:
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it
I am not very experienced with serious worry and stress, I will admit. I have experienced the petty worries about school and such, but have, for the most part, been a fairly positive-minded person. However, someone I am very close to has struggled mightily with stress on a regular basis, and I have developed these thoughts and searched the Bible to help out that individual. I believe it has been a help to both of us. Through the study of the Bible about this particular subject and a positive attitude that has been nurtured by this, I understand that God has a plan, and (for example) if not boarding a plane on a particular day is part of it, so be it. We make plans, but God’s plan will always prevail. I planned to get on a plane that day. God did not plan to have me get on a plane. This may seem frustrating, but really, it’s comforting. Our plans are imperfect, while His are perfect. Therefore, we shouldn’t worry. Trust in the plan. Cast our anxiety on Him. This is an attitude that can only be built by prayer, Bible study, and fellowship. I strongly encourage trying to develop this attitude, as all of these things can only help your faith. It makes it easy to remember the important things. Don’t worry. The Lord directs our paths. We are not our own. We are not alone in this world, and we do not have to go through anything alone. God is always there for us. Psalm 46:1:
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
How silly it would be for us to try and bear our problems by ourselves, when relief is always but a prayer away.