The Futility of Worry

I suppose I’d not realized that the second thing I do upon entering the car, after the seat belt of course, is turning on the sound system for radio or podcast. A few days ago I pressed the power switch, but the radio did nothing but stare at me with a black screen. I pressed the power switch a time or two to no avail. Then I dug out the owner’s manual to find which fuse controlled the sound system. Of course, the fuse wasn’t in the under-dash box that was easy to find, but in the engine box that was a bit harder to find.

I stopped at an auto parts store and asked them to test the fuse and discovered it was good. The attendant told me that the unit had a fuse behind the radio, and I’d probably have to pull the radio out of the dash in order to fix it.

My heart sank. I began to think in reality the radio was dead and I’ve have to shell out $150 or more for a new one, plus installation. However, I put the old fuse back in place and the radio came on as normal. I suppose the fuse had worked loose or been nudged in the last oil change. But I was happy the problem was solved so easily.

It occurred to me that many of the major problems I’ve dealt with in life are like this radio issue—imagined, not real. This is akin to the oft-told story about the senior adult who thought she was going blind before realizing she was still wearing her sleeping mask! Most of us are adept at anticipating trouble to the point we run half-way to meet it.

Worry is one of the primary maladies of our age. Doctors insist physical repercussions include ulcers, insomnia, indigestion, heartburn, headaches and irritability. Surely there’s a better way, especially since many of our fears are unrealized and our worrying useless.

Jesus’ counsel in the gospels is a word we need to hear. “Don’t worry about tomorrow,” he said. “Tomorrow will have enough troubles on its own. Your heavenly father knows what you need. Seek first the kingdom of God . . . and everything else will fall into proper order” (Matthew 6: 32-34).

The Apostle Paul had similar advice. He wrote, “Don’t be anxious about anything. Instead bring your earnest concerns to the Lord, and don’t forget to thank him” (Philippians 4:6).

Prayer and praise beat worry any day of the week. Most of us need to hear and heed the admonitions of scripture that we trust in the goodness of our God who loves us and does all things well.