I's Wicked

If fretting was an Olympic sport, I would own the gold medal. 

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."

The Old Testament king Hezekiah provides a powerful example of what we should do when we're tempted to fret. Sennacherib, King of Assyria, sent a letter to Hezekiah, threatening to destroy Israel. It was a valid threat—his armies had decimated all the surrounding nations—and now he had Israel in his sights. Instead of fretting, however, Hezekiah did what we should do when we’re frightened—he took it to God. 

“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."



This devotion is an excerpt from Lori’s new book, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women.

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  1. I'll fight you for that gold metal in fretting, Lori! I had not thought of fretting as something wicked, but it certainly does show lack of trust and a desire to have *my* way. Thank you for the guidelines Hezekiah models for us! I've written them in my journal. (I'm always amazed at the ways God's Word speaks to us, even thousands of years after it was written!)

    THANK YOU for a thought-provoking post.

  2. That C.S. Lewis quotation is so very, very, very true!

  3. There is such a lot about at the moment to do with trusting God - I think this is an important message that God wants us to hear. So many of us struggle with worry and the associated problems with this. There is great advice here.

    Thanks for linking up at Essential Fridays.
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

  4. Love the six points you share on what to do when we begin to fret. This is a great reminder. I pray I will fret less.

  5. Anonymous2:31 PM

    I's wicked too. Love this post! Dealing with 2 small children, I find myself fretting often as things go so far off from how I have them planned in my mind. Those 6 points are awesome.

  6. I never really realized how much I worried until recently. I always compared myself to my husband and his mother who both seemed to be the epitome of a worry-wart. And maybe they do tend to worry more than me, but regardless of how much or how little I do it--any "doing it" is as you've said, wickedness. I also like that you've linked worry with our lack of trust or letting go to God, Lori. I think that's so true and surely must be a huge offense to Him. So I'm taking your gentle nudge to trust the One who is Faithful! Thanks so much for sharing!