"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”
1 Peter 5:7
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Don’t fret ‘yer pesters. That’s southern for “don’t let the stuff that’s worrying you keep you awake at night.” As I wake up with something on my mind, it occurs to me that I’m doing just that. My mother’s voice echoes in my ear, urging me not to worry my troubles to death, followed by a gentle, yet firm: “Go back to bed.”
This was easier said than done. I’d been to Sunday School forever. I knew most of the Bible verses about fear and anxiety by heart. I got it, or thought I did. Still, didn’t God need me to figure out how to solve the problems of the world? As it turns out, not so much. What God wanted most, was for me to trust and let go of that which I could not change, which as it turns out, is a lot of stuff.
As a little kid, I mostly did what my Mom said, saying my prayers and going back to sleep. But as I grew older, I started wrestling with my troubles, wanting to trust God, but also wanting to do my part to make things right. The tide of worry turned for me the year I discovered God’s “in box”.
When faced with worries real or imagined, someone wise suggested a strategy that changed my young life. Before going to bed, I started thinking about everything that was bothering me. I imagined a clean, white piece of paper on the school desk at the foot of my bed, where I wrote down my worry. Then I put it in a box on my desk. Every worry got its own piece of paper. Sometimes the worry box was thick with paper.
Then just before going to sleep, I prayed about each worry that I had written, and then handed the whole stack over to God. As it turns out, God as a desk too, with a very big In-Box sitting on the corner. My worries sat there in that God-box through the long night. When I woke up, I discovered that God had worked on my troubles while I slept. There were usually a couple of worries back on my desk, but this time the paper showed ideas on how to work out the problem and a thought about where to begin. Some of my worries were just, plain, gone. It was as if God said, “I’ve got this one.”
God’s In-Box cured me of worry as a child, and then I grew up. The worries got bigger, but the strategy stayed the same. “Don’t fret ‘yer pesters. Trust God. Now back to bed.”
Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen
God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you,
Dr. Anna V. Copeland