"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" (Matthew 6:27)
Can you worry your way into an extra hour of life?
No, but you might take a few hours off your life by worrying.
We're really pretty limited if you think about it. All our days and hours and minutes and seconds are in the Father's hands. Recently I spoke with a pastor friend whose wife died a few months ago, suddenly, from a stroke that came without warning. How had he managed to keep his faith in the face of losing his beloved wife (they had been married for over 35 years)? "I have always known that her life was in God's hands and that she would not live one day longer than God ordained. I just didn't think that her final day would come when it did." For him this truth has become exceedingly precious. Her life was not cut short because she lived precisely as long as the Father intended.
Worry will not make us live longer . . . or better . . . or smarter.
But worry will rob us of our joy . . . our peace . . . and our contentment.
That's the funny thing about worry. It can give you an ulcer or a stroke or a migraine headache or a heart attack. But the one thing worry can't give you is a longer life. A man can worry himself to death, but he can't worry himself into a longer life.
You may die before noon tomorrow. Nothing you can do can change that fact in the least. The whole matter is in God's hands. So to obsessively worry about terminal illness or a freak accident is pointless because you cannot by worrying add a single second to your life.
That lifts a tremendous load off your shoulders, doesn't it? You're going to die someday. Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe later this year. But maybe not for fifty years. Maybe suddenly. Maybe slowly. Only God knows how it will happen.
But that means you are living on borrowed time. Only God knows when your time is up. That means you don't have to worry about dying. That's out of your hands. Therefore, you are free to relax, enjoy life, live each day to the fullest, and go for all the gusto you can find. And let God worry about how things turn out.
Jesus applied this truth for us in Matthew 6:34, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Don't borrow trouble. There's plenty to be thinking about right now. So many people are frozen with fear over what might happen two or three months down the road. Listen, if God could create the world in seven days, he can surely handle your problems in May or June.
Each day has enough trouble to keep you busy. You take care of today and God will take care of tomorrow.
O Lord, you have numbered all my days and written them in your book. Since I cannot die before my time, help me to enjoy each day as a gift from you and use it to serve others in Jesus' name, Amen.
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About Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 27 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 37 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, two daughters-in-law--Leah and Vanessa, and two grandsons--Knox and Eli. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.
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