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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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DOES WORRYING WORK

Someone observed that worrying works — about 90% of the things you worry about never happen! That witty insight brings to mind a statement by the inimitable Mark Twain: "I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened." So many of the things we worry about never come to pass. But that doesn't keep us from worrying — about the past, the present and the future. Edward Everett Hale gave good advice when he said, "Never bear more than one kind of trouble at a time. Some people bear three — all they have had, all they have now, and all they expect to have." That approach to life will make brown hair quickly turn grey and grey hair quickly turn loose! But it's not easy not to worry, is it? Ashleigh Brilliant spoke for millions of us when she said, "I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once." Worry is a killer. One tombstone read, "I told you I was sick." Modern medicine warns that many of us may literally be "worrying ourselves to death" since excessive worry can be related to ulcers, high blood pressure, etc. Jack Exum reminds us a life filled with worry may lead to a fall: "The worried heart becomes a hotel for many guests. The fearful, distressed, grieved, fretful, frustrated, anxious heart soon falls under the load" (Tract entitled "Winning Over Worry" by Jack Exum).

So what do we do about worry? "Don't worry" is good advice, but there is no "delete" button on the hard drive of our brains we can just push and erase from our memory all the things which cause our worries. But while worry can't be erased it can be replaced. Instead of worrying about problems and people, the Bible prescribes that we pray about them. Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us that the Christian who cannot sleep should talk to the Shepherd instead of counting sheep — "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." In verse 6 of this passage, the New Living Translation says, "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything." Someone said if a problem is not worth praying about, it isn't worth worrying about — and if it is worth praying about, and we have prayed about it, then there is no need to worry about it! When we worry about problems, usually nothing changes. But when we pray about problems, something always changes — God either alters the problem or He alters us and gives us strength to persevere through the problem. Worry doesn't work, but prayer always does. Are you worrying or praying?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ