Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Avoiding Worry 2 - Realise Its Futility

This continues an earlier post in which I started to outline some ways to avoid being crippled by worry.

2. Realise its futility

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (Matthew 6:27)

This is a really powerful argument if we can persuade our minds to recognize it.

Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere. (Glenn Turner)

It only seems as if you are doing something when you're worrying. (Lucy Maud Montgomery)

A hundredweight of worry will not pay an ounce of debt. (George Herbert)

Worry is completely useless. It doesn’t help at all. It doesn’t bring any pleasure and doesn’t help to make the problem - if there really is one - any smaller.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

The Mary Rose and the Flood

This morning on the Today programme there was an item about the 25th anniversary of the raising of the Mary Rose from Portsmouth Sound, where it had sunk in 1545.

During the interview, John Humprhrys expressed surprise at the beautiful condition of some 19,000 objects found on the ship, including longbows, domestic equipment, jerkins, nit combs, bowls, shoes, plates, shoes and leather wrist guards. "Why is it all in such good condition? ... You'd have expected it all to have rotted wouldn't you, after all this immensely long time?"

The maritime archaeologist, Alexzandra Hildred, explained, "The view is that sediment went in through the open gun ports very quickly and sealed it ... sealing the objects below and completely excluding oxygen so they didn't disappear ... that's why she was preserved - covered in mud."

In other words, if the objects had not quickly been covered in mud they would not have survived so long. This is common sense.

On the other hand, most palaeontologists would have us believe that the wealth of striking fossils we find today - some retaining well-preserved soft tissue, including blood vessels - were gradually covered over hundreds or thousand of years as they rested on the sea bed, millions of years ago. This is plainly rubbish. Even after a few weeks or months, the carcasses would have completely rotted and the bones dispersed. Even if buried, such tissues would not be preserved for so long.

Only a moderately recent cataclysmic and world-wide event, such as the flood described in Genesis, can explain the excellent preservation of so many animal remains in so many parts of the world.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Avoiding Worry 1 - Realise It's a Sin

Worry is something that affects all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons. Many people throughout history have recognized its power to damage us psychologically, to drain us emotionally, and to prevent us enjoying life as we should.

As a rule, what is out of sight disturbs men's minds more seriously than what they see. Julius Caesar

Grief has limits, whereas apprehension has none. For we grieve only for what we know has happened, but we fear all that possibly may happen. Pliny the Younger

It is not the cares of today, but the cares of tomorrow, that weigh a man down. George MacDonald

Oh the nerves, the nerves; the mysteries of this machine called man! Oh the little that unhinges it, poor creatures that we are! Charles Dickens

You can’t change the past, but you ruin a perfectly good present by worrying about the future. Anon

I've developed a new philosophy ... I only dread one day at a time. Charlie Brown (Charles Schulz)

Worry is something that can seem overwhelming and that we can feel powerless against. We cannot sleep. Our thoughts go round and round, always thinking about the same thing. ...

As Christians we know that we shouldn’t feel like this but can be completely unprepared for the onslaught when it comes. We find we can’t just laugh it off.

We need a biblical perspective to deal with worry when we feel so overwhelmed.

Here are some thoughts that I hope will be of some help - not only at that point, but also to help avoid worry before it begins to tighten its grip.

1. Realise it is a sin

When I first heard and thought about this, it came as a real eye opener. I suppose I had previously thought that it was just part of some people’s characters, mine included, which we could do nothing about. But Jesus says, Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. (Matthew 6:25) God has commanded us not to worry - and disobeying God’s commands is sin.

Another way of looking at this is to see that, if you’re worrying, it’s probably a sign to yourself that you’re not trusting God completely. But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and [the crucial point] everything that does not come from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)

If you’re worrying because you’re discontented with what God has provided then you’re in danger of falling into even further sins, like envy and greed, and even further heartache. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:9-10)

Now, we know what to do about sin!

First of all, of course, we need to repent, and ask God to forgive us our sin, on the basis of what Christ has done.

Then we need to remember that God always provides a way of escape from temptation - we need to look for that. No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13) Perhaps this will mean turning our minds to other things, doing something different in our daily routine, meeting with other believers, helping somebody. Whatever is needed, we need to do this as soon as we can. If we can nip the sin in the bud it will be much easier to deal with.

To be continued ...