Don’t worry

Yesterday I heard of somebody I know who has been diagnosed with cancer. He has a very young daughter and his obviously distressed. Dr Michelle Strydom, who wrote a book called, “Healing begins with sanctification of the heart”, and uses a lot of Dr Caroline Leaf’s research, says that no disease in incurable. Both these doctors are Christians and Dr Leaf is a neuro scientist. What the book says is that between 87 and 95% of diseases are caused by fear, anxiety and stress, and that by changing our thinking patterns we can heal our diseases. The thoughts we think is what makes us do what we do and makes us what we are. The Bible confirms this statement.

Proverbs 23:7,  For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

We all have thoughts running around in our minds all the time. A friend was telling me how she reacted to an unfavourable situation which she didn’t feel comfortable speaking out about, by a million thoughts crowding her head, and she assured me they weren’t positive thoughts. This is a normal reaction. We do it all the time. People often say, “You can think what you like, but you can’t say what you like.” That isn’t necessarily correct though. We should be training our brains to think good thoughts and not to get upset over every issue. When we are stressed there are changes that take place in our brains and these changes affect our bodies. I’m sure most people have experienced the affect that shock or anxiety has on the stomach. We suddenly have to go to the bathroom even if we haven’t eaten. That is such a simple example, but is a real example of how our thoughts affect our bodies.

Sometimes we are in a difficult emotional situations and we feel that the best thing we can do is to suppress our feelings so that everything appears to be normal. This isn’t a good thing, but neither is throwing tantrums about everything either. By being silent and putting away negative emotions or by being explosive and hanging all the dirty on the line you aren’t building the right kind of connections in your brain. If you have either of those problems you have to learn to trust Jesus, to take the Bible at face value, and to apply the promises that you have been given. Firstly, God doesn’t want us to be stressed. Apparently there are 366 references to not worrying. I say apparently because I haven’t looked them up myself. That sounds like a good project for one day. And secondly, God made provision for our fear, stress and anxiety. He sent Jesus to die for all those negative emotions.

But how does Jesus stand in for our anxiety. I see it this way: If I am not a Christian, I live like the rest of the world lives and I regard stress as totally normal. When I accept Jesus as my Saviour, I begin to look differently at the world. I realize that I am only here temporarily and that there is life after death, for me, an awesome life because I now am a child of God and will go to heaven. So automatically a lot of fears I had before I became a Christian just aren’t relevant anymore. I don’t have to fear death because death is not going to be the end, but the beginning of a wonderful new life. I read my bible and I realize that Jesus died for my sins and that God gives me grace to be able to live without sin, but when I do sin He does forgive me. I also learn that there is absolutely no reason to fear people because it is repeated many times in the Word. I don’t have to fear being destitute because God says that He will take care of me. Just like I don’t ever have to fear being lonely. He will never leave me or forsake me. Jesus also died for our sickness. There is no sickness that He can’t heal, and when I look at the research I mentioned, it makes sense. When I put my trust in Jesus and I stop worrying and being fearful, I am going to have many more positive thoughts which will send sickness running. There are conditions that aren’t stress related, but Jesus is in the miracle business and the Word tells me that nothing is impossible for God. And of course one of my favourite verses tells me how I should think.

Philippians 4:8, Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Now that we know what to do we need to start doing it!


Yesterday morning I woke up to a flooded guest room. The toilet cistern had overflowed and the water had covered the bathroom and bedroom floor. I mopped up what I could and then spread towels on the wet floor. Fortunately there was enough sunshine to warm up the room and no damage was done. It was an unforeseen and unexpected occurrence. Not something I even gave a thought to. It made me think of all the unforeseen things that happen every day.

Matthew 6:34,  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

If I had worried about anything the day before it would not have been about my guest room flooding. The things we worry about are things that are foremost in our minds. Things that we foresee. Maybe money, or relationships, or our car breaking down because there is a weird knocking sound in the engine. Most of the things that I have worried about in my life haven’t happened. This is also another example of truth in the Bible. It is also very good practical advice. Don’t waste your time worrying because you don’t know what’s ahead. Face the things that come to you the best way you can, with the Holy Spirit inside of you, leading you.

The other thing this mini flood reminded me of is the times that we are flooded with memories. Sometimes smell, a sound or something visual stimulates our memories and we are taken back to another time in an instant. There are things which we might have forgotten all about and they rush back complete with all the emotions we felt at the time. We cannot choose what we remember, or when we remember it. Sometimes there are things which take us by surprise and tears flow freely, outside our ability to stop them. Other times there’s the warmth of love that takes over. I find that I am much more likely to remember good things than bad things.

John 14:26,  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

Deuteronomy 8:3-4, And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 8:18-10.  And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. As the nations which the Lord destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the Lord your God.

We need to remember what God has done for us and that God loves us and cares for us. We need to remember Him actively. God should not only be part of a memory flooding into our consciousness. He should be right near the front of our thoughts. We should train our brains to put God in the centre of everything we do.

Proverbs 16:3, Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.

We have to try and do what this verse says. Consult God about what we plan, always keep Him in the loop and He will guide us and keep us on firm ground.

We need times of floods to wash away and clean up things that don’t belong, but we also need to be conscious of our loving Father and His love for us.

Peace in the storm

I’m listening to the thunder and watching lightning streak across the grey sky. Soft rain falling softens the edges just so much. The thunder just cracked so loudly that the doves in the fig trees flew away. I love this weather. It’s loud and vibrant and life-giving. Everything looks clean and smells fresh. I don’t hide from it, rather I embrace it and enjoy it. Can I say the same about the storms in my emotional life? A friend told me that her mother used to run from room to room covering the mirrors when there was a thunder storm. A neighbour used to hide under a bed. When Jesus was in a boat on the stormy sea with His disciples He lay down and went to sleep. They became so afraid that they woke him up and he rebuked the storm. I wonder how the disciples reacted to storms after that day. Were they still afraid or did they remember what Jesus had done and put their trust in Him?

We have all been through storms in our lives, big ones, small ones, bad ones and long ones that felt like they were never going to end. Sometimes they’re just a storm in a teacup and they’re over almost before they begin. Whatever the nature of the storm, it’s not really the storm that’s the problem, our reaction to the storm is what determines the outcome. Do we rush around trying to cover the ‘mirrors’ which we think will attract more trouble? Or do we simply hide our heads in the sand and wish the storm will go away? Maybe we frantically confront anyone who is willing to listen to our troubles. We could withdraw from the world and sit and worry. Which of these methods will make the storm pass? Not one. They are going to have no influence at all. Well they wouldn’t have an influence on the troubles we’re facing, but they might make our lives even more difficult, and even the lives of those around us. No amount of manipulation, worry or shouting is going to do the slightest bit of good.

Psalm 32:6 – 7: For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You in a time when you may be found; Surely in a flood of great waters They shall not come near him. You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.

I think these verses make it very plain. We need to trust God and not worry or rant and rave or blame or manipulate. We just have to embrace Jesus in the storm and we will come out whole on the other side. If we hold on to Jesus in the storm we will be able to get through it without fear. We will grow in the storm because storms are loud and vibrant and life-giving.