by Steve Skaggs
May I tell you a secret? Sometimes I enjoy worrying.
That’s right. That kind of sick, churning feeling that comes to my stomach every time I think of some as-of-yet unrealized event . . . the pointless frustration of cycling through potential eventualities in my mind . . . even the self-aggrandizing ego-boost I get when I gripe to others about a pet worry. I enjoy it.
Doesn’t sound much like fun, does it? I’ve tried to figure out what sort of satisfaction I get from worrying. There must be something, or it wouldn’t be such a temptation. I think the words “self-aggrandizing” used above are part of the reason. When I worry about something, I make it bigger in my mind than it is. I make my ability to deal with it seem more effective than it is.
And yet, ironically, at the same time I think of it as being too small for God to handle. Too small for God to handle? Is that possible? Are there events that concern me that don’t concern God? Perhaps two recent true events can serve as answers to that question.
The Place: Home Depot’s parking lot.
The Time: A Saturday morning.
The Event: A pet clinic.
My wife and daughter had taken Sammy, our cat, to get his shots. Sammy was visibly upset by having to be in a carrier, by the barking of the dogs, and by the unfamiliar surroundings. When Kristie opened the carrier just a tiny bit to pet him, zip! He was out of the carrier, around the back of another store, and gone into an overgrown field before you could say “feline conniption.”
A heartbroken Kristie and her heartsick mother began the search, praying all the while. To make a long story short, we found Sammy about an hour later. After calling him repeatedly, we heard him meowing from a small cave under some rocks. Had he not responded to us vocally, we could have walked within two feet of him and never seen him.
The Place: An oncologist’s office.
The Time: A Monday morning.
The Event: A follow-up discussion based on medical tests.
A friend of mine and his wife received the news: the cancer was back. It had spread. Innumerable locations. Inoperable. Incurable. A death sentence.
Their response? To do all they can do medically, following the Lord’s leading. To keep serving Christ regardless of how much or how little time is left. To realize that, as my friend put it, “This didn’t come as a surprise to God. I have no fewer days to live now than I did before I received this news.”
Now I have a question for you. Does our Lord care more when a person receives such a diagnosis than He does when a little girl loses her cat? When both cry out to Him instead of giving in to worry, does He discount one but listen to the other?
I submit that when He tells us to cast all our care upon Him, that’s exactly what He means (1 Pet. 5:7). And when He says that we should do so because He cares for us, that’s exactly what He means too. Shame on me for reveling in the misery of worry when I’m commanded to lay all my cares—all of them, from a lost cat to a frightening medical diagnosis—on my Savior.
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