Worrying Ahead

December 29, 2020
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Jesus I Come"1 (Lyrics)

Matthew 6:25-27 – Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (NIV)

"Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength — carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worry doesn't empty tomorrow of sorrow; but it empties today of strength." – Corrie ten Boom

Am I the only one who carries two days at once? A summer ministry that I coordinate provides worship services for seniors in chapels at five recreational vehicle parks in Arizona's White Mountains. I clearly remember, early in 2020 when the COVID-19 crisis hit, having more than one sleepless night wondering if our ministry would survive the year. Did we have enough money to pay our start-up costs? Would anyone come to our services? Would we be able to have services with the restrictions in place? Could we pay the rest of our bills? Could I find a pastor for the one chapel whose pastor retired last year?

Obviously, I wasn't trusting God with any of this. After a few days of worry, I called our treasurer, who assured me that we were in good financial shape to start the summer. Shortly thereafter, God sent us a new pastor. The season is now over: all five chapels met all summer, either indoors or outdoors. Attendance was lower due to people's fears about gathering with others, but we still had much larger groups than I expected, and new residents joined us. Our bills were paid. I worried for nothing.

Can you, like me, look back and remember when you worried ahead? How much time and effort were wasted in doing so? Not to mention the effects on our health — blood pressure, stomach upset, headaches, etc. Nicky Gumbel shares good advice: "Think ahead, plan ahead, but don't worry ahead. Trust in your heavenly Father to provide. He knows your every need. … Make a decision today not to worry about tomorrow. Trust God to provide for you one day at a time."

If nothing else, the COVID-19 season of 2020 has helped me to build my skills in this area. When I wake up in the middle of the night and start to worry, I pray, mentally sing favourite hymns, or remember comforting Scripture. Sometimes during the day, I have to verbalize, "Satan, get out of my head. God, I trust in You." I don't watch television news. I set a reminder on my phone to pray for our nation at 6 p.m. each evening.

I'm working on it, step by step. If this has been a worrisome year for you, what steps can you take to change as you look ahead to next year? Pray with me:

Prayer: Father, I want to trust in You for each and every moment of my day (and night). Give me strength to do that. Amen.

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About the author:

Sharon Cook <craftercook@gmail.com>
Apache Junction, Arizona, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Just what I needed. Bless you. God be with Us all.

    Thanks for the encouragement, Sharon. Have a Happy New Year.

    Thank you. How we need to humbly encourage each other as you just have!

    Thanks, Sharon, for sharing this sage advice in our daily devotional. Blessings.

    Thank you, Sharon. I needed to hear this today. Blessings to you, and a happy and safe new year to you and your family.

    Blessings Sharon for this piece you have shared.
    Carefulness is not the solution but absolute trust in the Lord.
    I wish you a prosperous 2021 ahead, in Jesus name.

    Hello Sharon.
    Thanks for a wonderful devotion today. We all need reminders to trust God instead of worrying.
    Happy New Year!

    Thanks Sharon,
    This is so true, and I find myself sometimes worrying about tomorrow and then some! But God is faithful, and I call on Him and He brings me back to where I should be.
    God bless.

    Morning Sharon,
    Thank you for your devotional and I shall carry the quote you mentioned, “Think ahead, plan ahead, but don’t worry ahead” with me.
    Happy New Year.

    Good morning Sharon,
    How true your devotional is. We always need reminding because our minds can go negative so quickly and even more so in a pandemic. Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts. May we pray with you and be proactive with you.

    Good morning Sharon. I will keep this devotional for a while now. I need to do just as you suggest. I am fairly quickly losing my memory. There seems to be no help available, it is upsetting, even frightening. I am trying to do my best to accept things as they are, it is becoming difficult to do. Thank you for your help.
    (NS, Canada)

    Good morning, Sharon. I want to thank you for today’s devotion on worry.
    Your message has given me the tools to move from worry to trust in the Lord and to use the strength He has given me for today rather than exhausting it on worrying about tomorrow. God bless you in your ministries.
    (Snowbirds in AZ)

    Hello Sharon,
    Thanks for this good reminder to put worry aside and place our trust in the Lord who is ever present to serve us.
    It is so easy for us to start worrying about this or that happening when we really should focus on the grace and mercy available to us from our loving Saviour and faithfully seek Him.
    Blessings for your great advice and reminder of who should be the centre of our focus at all times in our daily lives.

    Dear Sharon,
    What an uplifting reflection and call to prayer. I so appreciate all that you shared. I serve as the moderator of a small (10 people) Presbyterian Church in the Panhandle of Florida. We plan to meet this coming Sunday (with masks) for the first time since mid-March. I too have been concerned/worrying but felt the nudge to begin 2021 by offering a revised (30-minute) in-person service for those who feel safe to attend.
    I think about the Israelites in exile – Advent waiting – safety concerns — and so many questions. However, we will begin again with God’s help, following CDC guidelines.
    Blessings on your ministries and Happy New Year.

    Thank you, Sharon. So many things, both good and bad, are in front of us to make choices whether or not to worry. Worrying about this or that can draw us nearer to God every day. I appreciate your writing.

    Dear Sharon,
    I do not watch the television news either and I believe I have a happier life as a result. I do tend to worry despite this, particularly about family. I appreciate your insightful words.

    I keep a journal and among other things, note all the things that are worrisome and then turn them over to God.
    Go back a week and I am always amazed at how each item got resolved.
    Then I write beside it, PG — short for Praise God.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Good morning Sharon. Thank you for your devotional. Like yourself, I am a worrier, but having lived through life saving surgery, it is becoming easier to ask for the Lord’s help and leave my burdens at the cross. I can safely say I am a work in progress.
    (QC, CANADA)

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