"Just don’t worry about it. Trust God. It will all be okay.”
For several weeks I heard various renditions of this message from well-meaning people at my church. It was during a very scary few months of my first pregnancy; multiple ultrasounds had revealed what looked like hydrocephalus, a debilitating and potentially life-threatening brain abnormality.
Don’t worry? When medical red flags were waving? When there was nothing to do but wait and pray? When my first baby may not breathe a first breath—or may have serious mental impairments? Don’t worry?!
Behind such statements can lie faulty theology—an inherent “just think positively and everything will turn out great” message. Yet Scripture repeatedly shows us that a don’t-worry-magic-wand theology doesn’t hold water. The Bible is filled with mothers who lost children, with lives seemingly ruined, with tragedy and death and heartache . . . and yet—somehow—they still trusted God.
Alongside the “Don’t worry, be happy” platitude that we must reject, there’s also a rock-solid biblical truth. “Do not worry about your life,” our Savior exhorted (Matthew 6:25, NIV). And, “Do not be anxious about anything,” Paul urged (Philippians 4:6, NIV). What does this really mean?
In “When Worry Fuels Your Mind,” Amy Simpson examines these tricky questions as she explores the dangers of a worry-driven life. Amy helps us consider how a Christian can face these challenges differently—even if it seems to go against all our natural instincts. She helps us consider what trust and peace can look like in a world that may seem full of danger and threat.
Dr. Linda Mintle builds upon these ideas in “Winning the Worry War,” aiding us in developing practical strategies and spiritual habits that help us battle the lure of anxiety. After all, “Do not worry” isn’t simply a matter of trying harder; our choices and spiritual practices can help us build those muchneeded trust muscles.
The concerns of daily life are a burden for all of us, but for women who are single there’s often an extra layer of worry to deal with. For the single mom who’s parenting all on her own or for the young single who’s dealing with car problems, bills, and household tasks by herself, the biblical exhortation to not worry takes on greater significance and challenge. In “Shouldering Life’s Concerns When You’re Single,” Margot Starbuck dialogues about the weight of worry that’s unique for single women, and provides hope and encouragement for navigating these struggles.
It’s important to remember that for some, overcoming anxiety is much more than a matter of life choices and spiritual habits. For the 18 percent of Americans who live with an anxiety disorder, seeking medical attention is also a necessary and healthy step toward emotional and spiritual health. In “When Panic Attacks,” Cindy Baum shares her journey through anxiety disorder and how God has been present with her along the way. And in “My Child Struggles with Anxiety. What Can I Do?” Dr. Karen Maudlin assists parents who are concerned about their kids’ anxiety issues.
When I went through those long months of pregnancy, struggling with anxiety, I learned some powerful lessons. I learned deep in my heart what I already “knew” in my head. I learned that when the Bible says “Do not worry,” Scripture isn’t urging us not to care—for isn’t worry often the flip-side of deep love?
Instead, I think the key is what we do with those worries and heartfelt concerns. Do we fret and agonize, tormenting ourselves with the what ifs and working ourselves into a state of great distress? Or do we bring those worries, fears, questions, and dread to the Lord? In honest, even tearful prayer. In trust that’s focused on who God is rather than solely on an outcome we desire. In Christlike “not my will, but yours be done” submission (Luke 22:42, NIV), willing to surrender and accept an outcome we may deeply dread.
While thankfully my son’s tests eventually showed normal brain development, the lessons I learned that season are ones I continue to relearn day in and day out. For each of us who love must face worries and what ifs. We each must shoulder the concerns and worries of everyday life. We each must live in a world jam-packed with reasons to fret and to fear.
It’s in that love and life that God calls us to him and invites us into the hard work of prayer. And in his miraculous love, God gives us his peace—his peace that transcends and defies circumstances and dangers. His peace that guards us. His peace that keeps us safe.
Grace to you and courage to trust—
Kelli B. Trujillo, Editor