A Dose of Faith
Richard G. Mendoza, MPH, PhD.
Pr. Richard Mendoza works at the Central Luzon Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. An educator and promoter of health, he complements his advocacies with spiritual and values-oriented insights.
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Nowadays, many are worrying, anxious, and stressed. “Nine in 10 Filipinos are stressed due to the coronavirus pandemic”, pollster Social Weather Stations said. The survey showed that the pandemic brought great stress to 55% of the surveyed working age Filipinos or 15 years old and above, and 34% experienced “much stress.” All over the world, people are affected and are worried about what lies ahead and when will this crisis end!
While we cannot help but worry these trying times, research reveals that 85 % to over 90% of the things we worry about never happen. Only about 8-10% of what we worry about are genuine concerns. Most worry about what will likely not happen, what has already happened, something yet in the future and what we cannot control. The current crisis is among those we cannot control, not yet. Why worry then?
Dictionaries define Worry as, “To give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles”, “A sense of uneasiness and anxiety about the future.”
A lot of people worry. A new research study found that 38% of us worry every day. Worry is when you think about actual or potential problems and think of bad things that have or could happen. Worrying can be a productive mental exercise, but it can cross a line and become excessive. When that happens, worrying can be harmful to our mental health.
Worrying itself is not sinful. Concern and apprehension are not wrong – (e.g. Jesus’ agony in the garden – Luke 22:44, Paul and his concern for the brethren – 2 Corinthians 11:28, 2:12-13) But, too much is bad for our health: physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. Research suggests that consistent worrying can have both short- and long-term effects on our well-being. Physically- it causes stress, high blood pressure, ulcers, headaches, sleep loss, even heart problems. Emotionally – it can lead to depression, hopelessness, doubt, and low self-worth. Simply stated, worrying is a behaviour that can rob us of peace and joy, affecting sleep and decision-making. Sinful Worry is when we reach that state where the thing begins to consume us, and affect the way we behave and think. It can even affect how we pray (James 1:5-7).
It is biblically implied that fear, worry and anxiety are all weapons of Satan to keep us from experiencing the full life that God has for us. When you worry, you begin to step on to the next level, which is fear, and your fear would indicate your lack of trust in God. The Lord says in Isaiah 43:1“Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.” God actually commands us not to fear, or worry. The phrase “fear not” is used at least 80 times in the Bible, most likely because He knows the enemy uses fear to decrease our hope and limit our victories. Fear is the opposite of faith. God wants us to walk by faith, and Satan wants us to walk by fear. When we learn to live by faith and not let fear rule our lives, we can live a peaceful and joyful life in Christ, whatever the circumstances may be.
Jesus taught us not to worry, although translated as anxious, the word “Worry” – from greek μεριμνάω (merimnaō) was used in the Bible 5 times in Matthew 6:24-34, 1 Corinthians 7:32-33 “cares” for one’s wife, 1 Corinthians 12:25 – in the body we have “the same care for you”, and in Philippians 2:20 – Timothy was sent, he who “sincerely cared for their state.” Christ said, “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” ( Matthew 6:25-30 ESV). Here is the problem with worry, it shows a lack of trust in God. Typically, we worry because our faith is weak, we trust more in ourselves than in Him! God knows what we need, so we should not act like the world (that lacks faith in Him), verse. 33, instead, seek first God’s kingdom,
“And all these things shall be added to you”. Verse 34, “don’t worry about tomorrow” – we have enough to do and concern today! There is enough going on right now. Let’s focus on what we can control right now. Often, when we are dealing with a seemingly insurmountable problem, if we take it one step at a time, we will eventually overcome it. Do what we can today, and let it go! Of course we should make plans, but let us live one day at a time, while we work and lay our future in the hands of the Lord who directs our path.
To deal with worry, we need to honestly examine where we are and why we are worrying. Is it valid? Is it the 10% or the 90%? Let’s make up our mind!
(Ephesians 4:22-24), renewed in the spirit. Accept who we are, and whatever it is that we cannot change! Let us accept our limitations honestly, and don’t artificially create them. Let us not fret over what is not going to change! Finally, let us pray about it (Philippians 4:6-7), prayer is needed in everything we deal with, it is always the key to addressing whatever problems we have. Worry is something we can deal with, keep pressing forward and never give up!
Learn to trust God, keep the faith, be still and know that He is in control. Do you trust Him?, then don’t worry about it!