With advent of the new year upon us, there is much to think about, to consider about 2017. Our feelings range from nostalgia for the year gone by; what we could have done better, what we accomplished, the happy moments and the not so happy moments, loved ones who are no longer with us, and the new additions to our families; to excitement for the intended resolutions we make for an improved life in the new year. But one thing remains constant with regard to the new year as we peer forward; uncertainty. And the baggage that uncertainty brings is worry.
When we are uncertain about an outcome it can go one of two ways: the way we’d like it to go, the way we envision as ideal, but if not…then our minds explode with every variation of negative outcomes. That is fear. Fear of the unknown. Anxiety.
We recently went through a presidential election. If that wasn’t worrisome enough, we now have the anticipation of a brand new administration taking office in January. What will life be like with a new president? Will the concerns we had before be alleviated? Will the new administration do all the things they promised before the election? Will life be better…or worse? What about health care? What about foreign affairs? Will be more, or less vulnerable to terrorism? Will our economy be better, or worse? The answer to these and countless other “worries” that we have, is, ‘we don’t know’, it’s all uncertain.
Worry comes about from the unknown, but that’s because we have no control over the outcome. We have no way of knowing if what we want to come about, will actually “come about”, and in that there’s worry. In addition to the new President, there are a number of other things we really have no control over, things that add to our worries. Even the things we think we have control over, we worry that the control might not be sustained.
What may change in the new year? Will I be able to keep my job? Will I make enough money to keep up with rising costs of living? Will I be able to meet all my obligations?
What about my health or the health of my family? I’m not getting any younger, will I get sick, be hospitalized? Will I be able to afford health insurance?
There’s the mental stress from work. Family worries; children in school, grown children, their jobs, their families, grandchildren. Relationship worries…and on and on and on it goes. The fact is, we control precious little. The majority of life is uncertain….to us.
There’s a difference between what we control, and what He controls. Even those things that we start to think we’re in control of, we need to understand, even that was given to us from our heavenly Father. God controls all things present and future. We need to place our full faith and trust in Him to care for us, provide for us.
Jesus addressed this issue of worrying quite directly in the Sermon on the Mount.
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? 26 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? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
On the contrary, anxiety may very well shorten your life.
This new year that we embark upon is a blank slate. One that can be a beautiful portrait, one more beautiful than you or I could possibly imagine. But our worry must be converted to trust, faith in God that He loves us and cares for us in our distresses and adversities. We need to entrust each and every day to His provision and care, praying that His perfect will be done. “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
As far as the new year is concerned…Don’t worry about it! Jesus commands us not to!
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7