Worry Refs
We all face difficulties which seem too big to solve. The natural reaction is to worry about them. However, the Bible instructs us not to worry, but to trust in God.

Isaiah 31

For 20 years the great superpower of Assyria had been threatening to invade Judah. So far, they had held the Assyrians off by paying enormous taxes and tribute. 2 Kings 16:8 King Ahaz took some of the temple treasures and gave them to the Assyrians.
During the reign of his son, King Hezekiah, the temple had been further stripped of its silver to pay off the Assyrians.
2 Kings 18:14-15 It kept Assyria happy and gave Judah some peace. But now the treasuries were depleted and the Assyrians were still a threat. The Assyrians were renowned for their cruelty; they would capture a king and skin him alive in front of his people.
They appeared ruthless and invincible. What was Judah to do?
The people were very worried.

The princes of Judah decided to get the other great superpower on-side and sought an alliance with Egypt. They headed south
on their camels laden with gifts to try to convince the Egyptians to help them. To many people, Egypt seemed their only hope
in the face of the great, threatening power from the north.

1. What should the people of Judah have done about the threat of an Assyrian attack?
2. What did God think of the strength of the Egyptian army?
3. How did God promise to help Judah? Find out how this was fulfilled. [Hint: see Isaiah 37.]
4. How do you think you would have responded if you were one of the people of Judah?
5. What things do you worry about? How do you deal with the worry?

Trust in the Lord
Isaiah repeats the same simple message frequently: Just trust in God-he is truly powerful. It sounds simple, but in the face of what seems hopeless (humanly speaking), it is extremely difficult. We often try to solve all problems ourselves.

In the Proverbs we read:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

In other words, don’t worry and don’t try to do everything yourself. We have all struggled with this problem of learning to trust God and not rely on our own judgement. We must put aside our own ideas about what to do and rely on God to guide us. David wrote

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. (Psalm 55:22)

Peter quoted this verse when he was encouraging the early believers who were facing great persecution. 1 Peter 5:7 However, he wasn’t telling them to do nothing themselves. He instructed them to pray, to encourage one another and to prepare themselves
to defend the faith. But they were not to worry about the outcome-God was in control.

Trusting in the Lord takes all the sting out of worry. If we continue to try to do what is right, God will take care of the problems. Rely on God to lead you along the right path.

Do not worry (Matthew 6:25-34)
Jesus said “do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.” He went on to give several reasons not to worry.

• There are more important things than food and clothes (and almost everything else we tend to worry about).Matthew 6:25
• Birds don’t worry about life, they don’t store up much food for the future, and they generally live a care-free life, but
God looks after them. In the same way he will look after you. Matthew 6:26
• What good does worry achieve anyway? Most of the things we worry about we can’t do anything about. Matthew 6:27
• Lilies don’t worry about their appearance and making a good impression. If God takes so much trouble over the smallest things in creation, he will certainly care for you, his sons and daughters. Matthew 6:28-30
• Worrying is only for pagan Gentiles. True believers should not worry. God knows what we need. Matthew 6:31-32
• “Seek first the kingdom. . . ” If we have our priorities right, God will take care of us. Matthew 6:33
• There is no point worrying about the future when we can’t influence what may happen. Matthew 6:34

Do not worry:
Proverbs 12:25; Ecclesiastes 2:22; 11:10; Matthew 6:25-34; 10:19; 13:22; Luke 10:41-42; 1 Corinthians 7:21,32; Philippians 4:6.
Trust in the Lord:
2 Kings 6:16-17; Psalm 37:5; 55:22; 56:3-4; 62:8; 71:5; Proverbs 3:5-6; Isaiah 12:2; 26:2-3; 51:12-13; Jeremiah 17:7-8; Acts 18:9-10; Hebrews 13:5-6; 1 Peter 5:7.
God’s care for his children:
Psalm 23:4; 34:4-8,15-22; 91:1-16; 94:19; 2 Timothy 4:17-18.

When we worry, we are lacking faith and forgetting that God is in control. If he is guiding us, worrying about what might or might not happen is irrelevant. Whatever happens is in God’s control and for our ultimate good.

When faced with problems, worries and difficulties, don’t try to solve your own problems with no thought of God. Instead, respond by recognizing your helplessness and asking God to provide strength to cope. As the Psalms say:

If you make the Most High your dwelling-even the LORD, who is my refuge-then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. (Psalm 91:9-11)

When you worry:

• Pray.
• Talk about your worries with a faithful person.
• Read your Bible.

Troubles will come
Although God promises to protect us, he never promises to make our lives easy. In Psalms we read

A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all. (Psalm 34:19)

Troubles come to help develop our characters and teach us to rely on God. See Chapter 49. Suffering. But whatever occurs, we know that God will not forsake us provided we do not forsake him (2 Chronicles 15:2).

We can also be sure that God will limit the troubles that come upon us so that we will not be tempted to sin beyond what we are capable of resisting. Paul wrote:

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Worry about sin
Perhaps one of the things people worry most about, but should worry least about, is their own sinfulness. Certainly, we are all sinful and in need of redemption. But our redemption is supplied. There is no need for us to worry about it. First, worrying will do nothing-we will still be sinful after worrying.
Second, there is no problem anyway because our sins are covered!
Of course, we must aim not to keep on sinning.

Paul considered this problem in Romans and commented on his own sinful nature:

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25)

To worry about past sins is to deny that we have been forgiven. Here is one area where God has made it absolutely impossible
for us to rely on our own efforts. There is no other way to escape the awful effects of our own sin than through the Lord Jesus Christ. The greatest problem we face is ourselves, and God has even taken care of that.
See Chapter 17. Sin and Chapter 38. Grace.

1. Is it realistic not to worry at all in any circumstances? In what circumstances do you think it is acceptable to worry?
2. Read 1 Samuel 17:1-51. Saul and the army of Israel were greatly worried by Goliath (v11) while David was indignant that he was defying God (v26).
(a) What made the difference in their responses to Goliath?
(b) David’s trust in God was based on his past experience. What had happened to make him so confident that God would help him?
(c) What experiences have you had to give you confidence that God will deliver you from trouble?

1. Suppose you have a friend who writes to you explaining that she is desperately worried-her mother is dying from cancer, and she has recently lost her job because the company she worked for went out of business. She doesn’t know how she will care for her mother, or how she will pay the bills without an income. Write her a letter in reply, referring to some relevant Bible passages.
2. Read Philippians 2:25-28 and 4:6. Was Paul contradicting himself? Was it wrong for him to be anxious?

• Letters to George and Jenny by Harry Whittaker (published by Biblia, 1988). Chapter 7: “Worry, exams, holidays”.
• The new life by John Marshall (published by The Christadelphian, 1971). Chapter 19: “The problems of life”.

35. The sacrifice of Jesus
38. Grace
49. Suffering
58. Wealth and money