We live in times when apprehension is in the air. The direction of our country, high unemployment, the state of our economy, the mortgage meltdown, the volatility of the stock market and whether we will have enough income to sustain us through our retirement years all cause us concern. Added to these are concerns about the global economy, turmoil in the
Middle East and global
terrorism. As parents, we are concerned
about our children. Will they turn out
ok, will they be successful in life, and will they continue to follow God,
etc? In our present job market, those
with jobs wonder if they might lose their jobs, and those without wonder will
they ever obtain one again. It seems
that we live in a fragile world. It is
no wonder that people living in today’s world are apprehensive.
We face the danger at such times that our concerns will be transformed into worry. There is a vast difference between the two, especially from a spiritual dimension. Concern leads us to call out to God, believing that he is in control and is directing the purpose of the world for his own glory and purpose. It leads us to prayer. Worry implies that he is an impotent God, unable to control the human events that we see marching across the panorama of the world’s stage. It takes us away from prayer. Concern leads us to faith, worry to doubt. A chapel talk I once heard, titled “Why pray when you can worry?” dealt with this issue.
Excessive worry is dysfunctional as it can become an anxiety disorder where a person’s fears become crippling. Both imply a total lack of faith in God. Without faith, prayer becomes futile, as though merely talking to a blank wall. Why go thought the motion of attempting to talk to a God who is powerless? Active prayer requires an active faith in an active God. The Apostle Paul deals with this in his letter to the church at
Philippi which was experiencing
suffering for the sake of the gospel. He
tells them that prayer will lead to a peace that, though difficult to understand,
is the opposite of anxiety.