Before I became a Christian, I fretted about what was happening in my life, what might happen, what wasn’t happening, and what should happen. I fretted about the present, the future, and the past.
“Fretting is getting out at elbows mentally or spiritually,” says theologian Oswald Chambers. “And fretting is wicked if you are a child of God. We imagine that a little anxiety and worry are an indication of how really wise we are,” he says, “it is much more an indication of how really wicked we are.”
Like Topsy in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, I had to reach a point of confession and repentance over this sin in my life. “I’s wicked,” Topsy sobbed to Ms. Ophelia, and I have to agree; I’s wicked, too.
“Fretting springs from a determination to have our own way,” Chambers observes, and it’s true. I’m confident that God is aware of my situation and able to act on my behalf. I’m just not sure his answer will fit my agenda.
C. S. Lewis describes it this way: “We’ve no doubt that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."
“Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: ‘O Lord, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God’” (2 Kings 19:14-16).
Hezekiah’s godly actions are a model for what we should do when we're tempted to fret:
1. Go to God.
2. Pour out our hearts to him.
3. Remind ourselves who God is.
4. Pray boldly, asking him to glorify himself by acting on our behalf.
5. Rest in confidence, believing that he will hear and answer our prayers.
6. Trust the answer.
“Have you been bolstering up that stupid soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God?” Chambers asks. “Put all your ‘supposing’ on one side and dwell in the shadow of the Almighty. Deliberately tell God that you will not fret about that thing.”
How about you? Are you fretting about something? Let’s take it to God and leave it there.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below.
If you enjoyed this devotion, you might like the vlog (video blog) featuring Winston, called "When Something Big is Chasing You."
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