My mother is a walking encyclopedia of home spun wisdom and pithy sayings. Thanks to her persistence many of those have taken residence in my mind. Some are useful, like her warning that a snapping turtle will latch onto your toe and not let go till it thunders. I still detour around those beasts. Mom offers the prediction that Easter Sunday’s weather will set a pattern, repeated for the next 7 Sundays. I stood in 8 inches of April snow one Easter sunrise, and pondered what sleigh riding on Memorial Day would be like. My favorite adage is Mom’s reminder that “trouble always comes in threes!” I don’t recall what my 2 brothers and I were doing the first time we heard that line.
I have to confess when something really bad happens, I start a mental counter. “That’s one. What’s next? If I count the flat tire as two, will this be over sooner?” And my mind enters a state of high alert, waiting for the next event. You see, by nature I am a worrier. My mind runs amuck thinking about what can go wrong, devising contingency plans, and considering possible outcomes. Most of the time, the feared disasters never materialize. All that mental and emotional energy is wasted.
There is a better way to live.
Psalm 94 is anonymous but the context makes clear the writer was in a hard time needing help. Rather than worry about circumstances he chose to draw on his faith and pen these words:
“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, your consolations delight my soul.”
Psalm 94:19 (NASB)
Years later, Jeremiah, also known as the Weeping Prophet, shared some ideas for an anxiety-free existence.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NASB)
And finally Paul chimed in with this blank check for squelching anxiety:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Philippians 4:6 (NASB)
Trouble may come in 3’s, 6’s or even 9’s, but we have a solid option for handling the anxiety.