Fussing and Fretting

Sam Petitfils 

“Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

It’s truly amazing the things we worry about.  Consider the following statistics about things that occupy and stress our minds:

40% -- things that will never happen
30% -- things about the past that can't be changed
12% -- things about criticism by others, mostly untrue
10% -- about health, which gets worse with stress
8% -- about real problems that will be faced

Wow, 8% about real problems, most of which can be solved in time, not to mention the wonderful access we have into God’s presence where we present these needs.  Do we realize our wonderful privileges and blessings as children of God?  We can actually bring such anxieties into God’s very presence, where He will calm our minds and guard them in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:4-7).

Peter had every reason to stress.  God chose him to bring the message back to his own countrymen, the Jews. They did not always welcome him; in fact, they persecuted him for his faith.  In one place, he was chained to Roman soldiers, but he slept peacefully.  Church history tells us he was martyred for his faith as he was crucified upside down.  Yet here he writes about peace and casting our cares upon Christ.

When Christ left this earth, He gave us heavy responsibilities.  He tasked the church with proclaiming the gospel to the four corners of the earth and safeguarding His truth for all generations.  He warned us that enemies of the gospel will assault us, even to the death.  With all of these duties, He forbade us from one key responsibility:  We cannot bear our own stresses; that belongs to Him.

Most Christians fight God on this front. They want to “figure things out” and come up with nifty solutions to the problems of life, but such solutions do not always appear.  When they don’t, stresses begin to mount.  We toss and turn at night, then fret during the day.  “What can I do to solve my dilemmas?” we ask.  But when we think that way, let’s remember one thing: God does not want us to take on the burden, just the task.  The two are not the same.  We all need to obey God and fulfill His role for our lives.  Paul told Archippus to “fulfill the ministry that you received in the Lord” (Colossians 4:17).  But God does not want us to take on the cares and stresses thereof; He has reserved that for Himself, as the verse above indicates.

We should not look upon this as just another command (and it is a command), but as a glorious invitation.  We don’t have to shoulder the burden, just fulfill the Master’s commands.  The world looks at this differently. They often shirk the responsibility, but hold on to the stress.  Let’s avoid that and do it God’s way.  When we follow God and do His will, we leave the results to Him and concentrate on following His will.

Listen to this time-honored hymn, and consider its wisdom:

It is well with my soul 

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
What ever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

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