Worrying

St. Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

I know that some of you, like me, enjoy watching the television programme ‘The Repair Shop’.  If you haven’t seen it, do watch out for an episode.  In the programme a team of skilled and caring craftspeople rescue and restore all manner of items which are precious to people for varying reasons – but which appear beyond repair.

The resident carpenter on the programme is a young man called William Kirk and his skills are phenomenal.  In a recent episode he brought back to life a broken piece of fretwork for a lady whose late father had painstakingly carved the original many years earlier.  It had been made to hang on a wall and read: “Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday and all is well”.

It struck a chord with me and so I looked up quotes about ‘worry’ on Google and discovered it had been written by Dale Carnegie, an American self-help expert who wrote the well-known book ‘How to win friends and influence people’.

The article gave several other quotes on the topic of worrying including these:

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength” and “worry is interest paid on trouble before it falls due”.

What wisdom there is in those words – yet how hard we find it to act upon them.  We know, deep down, that worry is futile: it not only fails to achieve anything but can actually undermine our ability to face life’s problems – yet, sometimes, we just can’t seem to help ourselves.

Up to a point, that is natural – however sure our trust in God.  When our welfare is threatened, or our loved ones are in any kind of danger, we would be less than human not to worry about it.  Yet to worry about what might happen when there are no grounds to fear it, to fret about possibilities rather than certainties, is foolhardy.  There is time enough to deal with these if and when they arrive without facing them several times over beforehand.

Few things have the power to crush the human spirit like worry, yet the irony is that most of the things we worry about never materialise and those that do are often less awful than we imagined.  And, for the Christian, there is the added confidence that, even when our worst fears are realised, God will be there to support us.

So, if you are worrying about things you cannot change, just stop for a moment and ask yourself what effect this is having on your life.  Remember that God promises to all who love him a peace that passes understanding and then focus on the present moment and living each day in the light of God’s love.

The experience of people of faith shows us, time and time again, that God holds everything in his hands and that, even when our worries prove justified, he give us the strength to get through.  Whatever clouds may appear on the horizon and whatever storms life may throw at us, we should strive to trust God and to be at peace.  As we read in the sixth chapter of Matthew’s gospel:

“Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? So do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.  Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

With this in mind, we can praise God for what has been, thank him for what is and ask him to sanctify what will be.

With every blessing,

Paul.

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