“My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.” Proverbs 4:20-22 (NIV), italics and bold mine
Stressful situations will inevitably plague our lives. How we react and conduct ourselves can make all the difference in the world. You can have the best plan to live well and have a healthy life but if you resent people, constantly worry and stress out about stuff, you eventually will “rot the bones” of your body. Proverbs 14:30 says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
What else does scripture tell us about worrying and stressing out? It basically tells us worrying and trusting God do not mix. All of us will choose one or the other. It’s never both at the same time.
I’ll never forget a conversation I had with my son Joshua. At three years old, he reminded me about the promises of God. He witnessed how worrying paralyzed me and it often made me sick. One afternoon, as I laid on the couch thinking of ways to get out of situation, Joshua said to me, “Mommy, why are you sad all the time? Do I not make you happy?” My heart sank and I told Joshua the truth. “I’m just worried about our lives…”
Joshua didn’t miss a beat and said, “Mommy, Jesus said, ‘Do not be afraid. Do not worry. If He takes care of all the little birds, He will take care of us. He loves us. Shouldn’t that make you happy?”
I can’t tell you how many times I pray God would take my worries away. Usually, after I confess my worries, anxieties and stress to the Lord, I feel better. “…The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” James 5:16b (NIV).
I also know to check my prayer life and my dependency on God whenever I feel sick. Most of the time, my illnesses and suffering have more to do with worrying and stress than with a virus.
Yes, we deal with all sorts of stresses in our lives. That’s why God gave us His Word to refute the lies and fear that plague our lives.
- We dread loneliness, but God promised, “I will never leave you or forsake you” Deuteronomy 31:6, Psalm 37:28, Hebrews 13:5.
- We fear the future, but God reminds us, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV).
- We worry we won’t get what we need or desire, but God’s Word says, “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” Psalm 37:4 (NIV).
- We stress out about how to love others, but God says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” John 13:34–35, (NIV).
- We believe we won’t have the strength to survive our current circumstances or what’s in the future, but Scripture says, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” Isaiah 40:29, (NIV).
Many things will impact our lives and our health. Some of those things will certainly bring chaos, but we can choose how we react. We can control the amount of stress and worry in our lives by trusting God and His Word. We can allow Him to fulfill His promises and Word in all of our circumstances.
In what area of your life do you struggle to trust God? How has stress or worry impacted your physical health? What scripture will you claim to help you trust the Lord more and worry less?