5/28/08

Worry Warts and Frogs

My dad was a worrier. His childhood nickname was “Wartie,” because he was such a “worry wart.” (Dell once had a comic book called “Out of Our Way with the Worry Wart.” I wonder whether my Grandma Webb named Dad after that character!) Long before I understood this term, I thought worry warts came from touching frogs! Like Dad, I tend to worry about things that will probably never happen. Worry can be mild or a serious disorder. There is even a Worry Club online to help obsessive worriers. On any level, the persevering, nagging thought that something will go wrong robs us of something our loving God wants us to enjoy—His peace.

Jesus offers His peace, not the world’s (John 14:27). True peace comes when we submit to God’s care and authority. We lean on His everlasting arms and are “safe and secure from all alarm.” Much has been written about the tragic story behind the great hymn, “It Is Well with My Soul, but few know that the familiar first line—“When peace like a river attendeth my way”—is drawn from Isaiah 48:18. “If only you had paid attention to my commands,” Isaiah wrote, speaking for God, “your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” There it is again. Peace comes from submission to God’s authority, commands and laws.

The scripture that God often brings to my mind when I’m tempted to worry is Isaiah 26:3. God guards my heart with His peace when my “mind is stayed” or focused on Him rather than my circumstances or any threat (real or imagined), and when I actively trust and obey. When I do, God’s river of peace floods over me, refreshes my soul, and helps me move forward with confidence.

On a funnier note, worry warts do not come from frogs, but I often remember frogs when worry-thoughts enter my mind. (F-R-O-G stands for ''Fully Rely on God.'')

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