In his book, “There’s a Lot More to Health Than Not Being Sick,” Bruce Larsen tells about a friend who he says is one of the happiest people he knows.
Larsen describes him as a very senior citizen, now almost blind and living on a modest income, but who is fun to be around because he’s excited about the future.
In contrast, many who have good health and plenty of money live in fear of what may be ahead, always expecting some tragedy to befall them. “Whenever I board a plane, I expect it to crash,” one man told me. “Then, if it lands safely, I feel good.”
Some have chosen this fearful frame of mind for their outlook on life. They make Murphy’s Law “Whatever can go wrong, will” their guiding light and live as if God operated the world on this pessimistic principle.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
In “Letters To An American Lady,” C.S. Lewis comforted a troubled woman by telling her not all the things she feared could happen to her and the one, if any, that did would probably turn out very different from what she expected.
Lewis adds, “The great thing, as you have obviously seen, (both as regards pain and financial worries) is to live from day to day and hour to hour not adding the past or the future to the present.”
Our Lord told his disciples to stop worrying about tomorrow, Matthew 6:34.
To fret when we don’t have the facts is then both disobedient and faithless.
Sometimes when preaching, I have asked the members of the congregation how many of them have ever worried about things that didn’t happen. Many hands have always been raised immediately. Then I have told those who didn’t respond that I would speak to them the following week about lying.
In his published sermon, “The Sin of Borrowing Trouble,” the eloquent 19th century minister, T. DeWitt Talmadge said, “The majority of the troubles of life are imaginary, and most of those anticipated never come.”
The Psalmist warned against frivolous fretting in one of his most loved songs, Psalm 37, to which I have often turned to build my faith and drive away unwanted fears.
Faith cures fretting because they are opposites and cannot co-exist.
Looking out my upstairs office window, I’ve been able to see a beautiful yellow rose bush blooming every spring and summer for more than 30 years. This thriving beauty has special significance to my wife and me because it came from Pauline’s mother’s rose garden.
One day last spring, we noticed the tough Michigan winter had taken a damaging toll on it and we decided we’d have to cut it down. Heavy ice had pulled it to the ground, making rescue seem impossible ... until a few days later.
“Look out the window,” my happy wife called.
One look told me the reason for the sound of joy in her voice.
Melting ice had loosed the rose bush from its clutches and allowed it to rise nearly to its former height, promising beautiful yellow roses with the coming of spring.
No matter what fears plague you today, don’t despair. And don’t expect the worst.
Stop that faithless fretting. God will give strength for today and tomorrow will likely turn out better than you think.
Roger Campbell is an author, radio broadcaster and newspaper columnist from Waterford, Mich., and has been a guest speaker in Alaska churches from Anchorage to Homer.
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