6 Reasons Not to Worry When You Have a Chronic Illness
By Lisa Copen
If you could be sitting on a beach chair right now, would you be able to enjoy it? Or would you be worrying about everything going on back home? Most of us can probably think of someone we know who believes that there is a verse in the Bible that reads, "Blessed be the worriers."
Having a chronic illness gives us a long list of justified reasons to worry. We worry if we should take it easy today, and rest for tomorrow; or if we should do all we can today, in case tomorrow we feel worse. We throw out the dreams of trying to do it all, and concentrate on worrying about if we can do some of it. We worry when our body is falling apart, then when we are in remission, we worry it won't last. We worry about having children, raising our children, financial burdens, if we are a good spouse, how to keep a positive attitude, and we probably all have moments when we worry and wonder whether God is listening to our prayers.
For a moment, let's try to put all those emotional worries aside and look at God's Word logically.
He does hear our prayer and knows our worries, but He tells us our worries are in vain. He's already taken care of everything. Peter writes, "Turn all your anxiety over to God because He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7.) Easier said than done? If you need more than that, read on; here are six reasons not to worry.
1. He tells us not to worry.
"Don't ever worry about tomorrow" (Matthew 6:34). He doesn't say, "I understand you're sick and you have some serious lab work coming up, so occasionally, on those days, worry about tomorrow." God says, "Don't ever..." Our Father is not making a suggestion, such as "You'll benefit by not worrying." He's giving us a commandment.
2. We have nothing to worry about!
It seems hard to believe, but Paul assures us, "My God will richly fill your every need in a glorious way through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). Writing this from a jail cell, Paul was speaking from experience. God knows our needs better than we know our own needs. He not only knows what we need today, but also what we will need in the future; He's already taken care of it. He promises to not only take care of our needs, but to fill our need in a glorious way.
3. Worry doesn't do any good!
Jesus asks, "Who of you can add a single hour to his life by worrying? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?" (Luke 12:25-26.) Jesus is calling us on our attitude and lack of control. Worrying does not add an hour to our life. If anything, it probably takes a few hours off of our life.
4. We need to be soothed by God.
David tells God, "When I worried about many things, your assuring words soothed my soul" (Psalm 94:19). Yes, regardless of how God-like we strive to be, it seems occasional worrying is a part of our human nature. The important thing is to not let it consume us. David took his worries to God, and God soothed him. Soothe means to calm or comfort with soft words. If you forget to talk to God in prayer about your worries, you aren't giving God the opportunity to soothe you.
5. Worry can control you.
Not only can worry control you, but it can even consume you. When you are overwhelmed with this anxiety your focus is no longer on God. Rather, "Let Christ's peace control you. God has called you into this peace by bringing you into one body. Be thankful" (Colossians 3:15). God tells us "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ." (Philippians 4: 6-7). God knows that if you bring your burdens to Him, He will make them light; but He allows us free choice to carry our own burdens. Learn the distinction between worry and prayer.
6. Lastly, the troubles we are experiencing are temporary … even "light."
"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." (2 Corinthians 4:17.) To us, the burdens feel heavy, but in God's eyes they are light. God cares about our worries but He knows that He is more powerful than any illness, financial worry, or other burden you may carry.
Lisa Copen is editor of HopeKeepers Magazine, http://www.hopekeepersmagazine.com, a consumer publication for those with chronic illness, and founder of Rest Ministries, http://www.restministries.org. Daily devotionals, a free magazine, dozens of e-groups, books by Lisa, including "Why Can't I Make People Understand?" http://www.comfortzonebooks.com - A wonderful book for pastors, chaplains, nurses or just anyone who cares for those who are hurting. You can write to Lisa through either her website or the Letters page of this magazine.