When Worries Overwhelm

I’m a worrier in the worst sense of the word. If you were a bug on the wall in our apartment, you would hear my husband often talking me out of wondering if our currently nonexistent children will be happy and well-adjusted or whether I’ll ever be where I want to be weight-wise or if we’ll figure out this problem or that. I worry that I made the wrong impression during interviews or if I overstayed my welcome or if we’ll end up at our next location with no stuff and nowhere to live (thanks for that one, military). Sometimes I worry so much it feels like I’m drowning. Like I’m never going to get a handle on life and that things will not fall into place. Enter my husband, who is steady and sure as the day is long. He is truly a gift in my life. He constantly assures and assuages my fears, infuses logic into my worries, and holds me tightly when I let my worries get deep. I sincerely hope that every worrier can find a person like my husband in their life. God has given me exactly what I need in a husband in him.

But I need more than a person to take away my worries. People are not perfect. They fail. And for over two decades, I lived my life without the wonderful man I am now married to. I was still a worrier. Was I or any other worrier without a Reid in their life without hope because they were without a spouse or close friend like this? No. Never.

When worries overcome my heart, the greatest comfort is Scripture. The Bible is a soothing place for one who feels overwhelmed by the cares of the world. In the Scriptures we find rest for the weary, hope for the hopeless, strength for the weak, and comfort for the faint at heart. Two passages in Matthew stand out as those that comfort the heart overcome with worry. The first is Matthew 6:25-34

For this reason I say to you,
do not be worried about your life,
as to what you will eat or what you will drink;
nor for your body, as to what you will put on.
Is not life more than food,
and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air,
that they do not sow,
nor reap nor gather into barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not worth much more than they?
And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?
And why are you worried about clothing?
Observe how the lilies of the field grow;
they do not toil nor do they spin,
yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory
clothed himself like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass of the field,
which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace,
will He not much more clothe you?
You of little faith!
Do not worry then, saying,
‘What will we eat?’
or ‘What will we drink?’
or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’
For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things;
for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness,
and all these things will be added to you.
So do not worry about tomorrow;
for tomorrow will care for itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.

This passage starts with a “For this reason…” It’s a simple cause and effect statement: because this, then this. But what is the because? It is found in verse 24:

No one can serve two masters;
for either he will hate the one and love the other,
or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and wealth.

We were not created to be devoted to two things – it’s impossible. We can either be consumed by serving God or be consumed by serving our worries. We are reminded in verses 19-23 that where our treasure is, there will our heart be also. We must lay our treasure up in heaven, where it will be everlasting.

Let’s recap Matthew 6:19-24: It starts with Jesus telling us where we should store up treasures. In heaven, rather than earth because where our treasure is, there will our hearts be. This immediately leads into him saying that we cannot serve two masters; we cannot serve God and wealth. And then we get to verse 25: “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life” (emphasis added).

Because our treasures should be stored up in heaven, because we must chose between serving God and serving the cares of this world (including wealth): do not be worried about your life. Instead, focus your gaze on the kingdom of God and his righteousness. He will take care of you.

The birds and the flowers and the grass of the field are all beautifully and carefully taken care of. And we, we are so much more valuable. Do you really think the sovereign, loving God of the universe is going to forget you? 

He knows your name, he knows your trials, he knows your fears. Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things (v. 32). Our God does not forget his children. He does not cast us aside. He carries us. Whatever is laying heavy on your heart today, give it over to God. Turn your gaze on him.

Preach this truth to yourself: the God who feeds the birds, clothes the flowers, and lets the grass of the field grow will never leave you, neither will he forsake you. When the lies start to take over, when worry overcomes your heart, preach truth to yourself. Remember who your God is. Cry out to him. Read Matthew 6. Pray through the Psalms.

If you are reading this and you are a child of God, you don’t need to be afraid. Man cannot truly harm you.

“Do not fear those who kill the body
but are unable to kill the soul;
but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Are not two sparrows sold for a cent?
And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
So do not fear;
you are more valuable than many sparrows.”

Matthew 10:28-31

If you are a believer, you have no reason to worry or to fear. The God who holds the sparrow holds you in his never-ending grip of grace. Man cannot destroy you – not really. Death is not the end for those of us who believe. It is only the beginning.

This world is fading quickly. One day, it will be gone. One day, we will look back on our lives and wonder why we ever worried. We will be able to look back and say Jesus led me all the way. Every moment of every day we are led by our heavenly Father who loves and cares for us. He knows the end. He wrote the end. He wrote the story.

So when the details start to bog you down, when you wonder if that thing will ever work out, if you’ll ever find a job, if you’ll ever find a spouse, if the one you love will ever come home, if you’ll ever get out of the hospital, if there will ever be answers, if, if, if, if…

Take a deep breath. In. And out. Remember Matthew 6 and 10. Remember the sparrow, the lilies, the grass, and shift your gaze. Look to your heavenly Father. He has already untangled the knot, worked out the details, seen the end, and knows your past, present, and future. When worries overwhelm, God is your refuge, strength, and very present help. He knows, and he cares. Let not your heart be troubled.


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