Let’s make a list. The advantages of anxiety. We have so many opportunities to practice. Just look at the front page of any newspaper. It’s voting day, for goodness sake. Within a few short hours a new leader of the free world will be chosen. This is a perfect day to be anxious, right? This is a perfect opportunity for us to rehearse the many wonders of worry.
Here’s the first entry: Worry helps our health. Lose sleep and you’ll live longer. A nervous stomach is a happy stomach, isn’t it? Actually, no. Worry has been cited for a swarm of sicknesses: heart trouble, high blood pressure, rheumatism, ulcers, colds, thyroid malfunction, arthritis, migraine headaches, blindness, and a host of stomach disorders. Worry, it seems, hurts our health. But, at least worry makes us feel better.
Worry brings joy. Entangle yourself in Election Day dread and you’ll be the happiest person on the block, right? Worry puts the blue in the sky, the spring in the step, and gives the song to the bird. A dose of fret spices up the day, does it not? We know better. Worry is to joy what a Hoover vacuum cleaner is to dirt: might as well attach your heart to a happiness-sucker and flip the switch.
Let’s keep thinking. Surely anxiety has some value. Even if it takes health and steals joy, doesn’t worry usher some blessing?
Worry is to joy what a Hoover vacuum cleaner is to dirt: might as well attach your heart to a happiness-sucker and flip the switch.
How about this one: Worry solves our problems. Treat your troubles to a good dose of fret and watch them evaporate. Correct? Hardly. Worrying about problems creates a new set of problems.
Then why do we worry so?
Simple, anxiety is the default reaction to the appearance of trouble. When a politician says: “The nation is in trouble!” it requires no action to believe him or her. Fear is highly contagious. There has been a lot of fear-peddling over the last few months.
It’s time to trust. It’s time for us to believe the motto on our coinage. “In God we trust.”
Let’s face it. Anxiety has no advantages. It ruins health, robs joy, and changes nothing. The Greek word the Bible uses for worry, merimnao, stems from the verb merizo (divide) and nous (mind). Worry cleavers the mind, splitting thoughts between today and tomorrow. What’s more, worry divides people. Fear causes citizens to rage against citizens, Americans to spew anger toward Americans.
Isn’t it time to trust?
The Bible calls God “the blessed controller of all things.” Does “all things” include a presidential election? If your candidate wins, is God in control? If your candidate loses, is God in control? And, if God is in control, can we not trust Him?
It’s time to vote, to pray and, most of all, it’s time to trust.
Max Lucado is a San Antonio pastor and best-selling author. His latest book is "Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World" (Thomas Nelson, September 2017). Visit his website at www.MaxLucado.com. Follow him on Twitter @MaxLucado.