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The Remedy for Worry

“Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matthew 6: 25-26) 

After one of my recent meetings, a young lady in a wheelchair approached me along with her mother. She had a look of despair and she began to pour her heart out concerning how overwhelmed she was with the thought of not being physically capable of preparing for the final crisis that will soon come upon this earth in light of the second coming of Jesus Christ. Worry was consuming her soul.

Worry is akin to fear. The Bible speaks of this: “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth. For the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:26). Worry is in fact a sort of chronic fear. In its most intense forms, worry almost reaches the proportions of actual terror. A man who worries over his task is almost defeated in advance. To anticipate failure is to invite it by suggestion.

In a book entitled, “How to Have Good Health through Biologic Living” (pages 228-343), Dr. Cannon, a professor at Harvard University, shows that certain emotions poison the body. Hate, envy, scorn, jealousy and fear actually create poisons, not psychological poisons, but powerful toxic substances, which poison the life stream, the blood. Leviticus 17:11 tell us, “the life of the flesh is in the blood.” Under their influence, the body weakens and all the life processes are disturbed. A person who lives under fear, or under the shadow of any depressing emotion, seems to shrivel up. He grows old prematurely. Worry kills a hundred where work kills one. Worry, like other depressing emotions -while sometimes caused by the physical state- reacts upon the body in a most pernicious way, forming a vicious circle. It is an exaggerated but ineffective activity of the brain and nerves. This leads to the most distinct consequences. The effects of worry, in fact are essentially those of overwork. Worry exhausts the body’s store of energy by ineffective effort. Worry profoundly influences every bodily function. The action of the heart, lungs, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidneys, bowels, and other vital organs is maintained and constantly modified and adjusted to suit the varying conditions of environment and bodily activity by the sympathetic and vasomotor nerves. The sympathetic nerve stimulates the heart to action, the vagus nerve exercises a controlling or regulating influence by which the heart’s action is made more effective. Without the influence of the vagus, the heart runs away, so to speak, and soon exhausts itself.

In a state of worry, the restraining or controlling power of the vagus nerves lessen while at the same time the sympathetic nerves are excited to increased activity. The pulse is accelerated, the heart beats faster but less effectively, the blood accumulates in the lungs and other viscera, the skin is pale, the extremities cold, the pupils dilated. Under these conditions, the body loses weight, sleep is disturbed and unrefreshing, and a state of profound exhaustion is developed. The muscles, while weak, are abnormally tense: the irritability of weakness. Muscular twitching is common. Nearly all these symptoms are readily explained by the influence of worry upon the sympathetic nervous system. The pupils dilate because of exhaustion of the cranial nerve which contracts the pupil, while the sympathetic nerves are over-stimulated. The breathing is slowed, through the exhaustion of the nerve centers which act upon the muscles of the chest. The skin is made pale by the constriction of the surface blood vessels, while the liver and other internal organs are overfilled with blood. Notwithstanding, the pallor of the skin, the unbalance of the automatic nervous system is sometimes so great that the sweat glands produce a forced secretion, which appears as cold sweat and cold hands with wet or water-soaked palms. Worry is a short circuit that burns out the storage batteries of the brain and nerves and destroys the power of useful activity. Laboratory study has brought out many more interesting facts in relation to the physical effects of worry. The body produces a great number of internal secretion gland products which are poured directly into the blood, instead of being discharged upon the surface of the skin or the mucous membrane. It is through the action of these subtle secretions that the intricate processes connected with nutrition are induced and regulated. It is probable that every cell in the body produces subtle substances which act upon and influence every other bodily cell in a specific manner.

These substances are two classes, hormones and colyones. Hormones are substances which stimulate and increase activity, while colyones are substances which retard or lessen activity. Both classes of substances are necessary for well-balanced vital action. The organs that are most active in producing these internal secretions are the liver, pancreas, thyroid gland, thymus, kidneys, adrenal glands, spleen, pituitary body, ovaries and testicles. It will be noted that the effects of the individual hormones and colyones are much like those of powerful poisons. In health, a nice balance is maintained between these various secretions. Worry upsets the balance and deranges the function of each one. Worry has been known so to disturb the pancreas as to cause diabetes. Exophthalmic goiter, a disease associated with excessive activity of the thyroid, is sometimes caused by prolonged worry.

Worry increases the secretion of adrenalin, which works to raise blood pressure by over-stimulating the heart and contracting the small blood vessels; on the other hand, the hardest sort of mental work is consistent with good health if the physical needs of the body are properly supplied.

The Remedy for Worry

Listen to David as he seeks the Lord, “as the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God” ( Psalms 42:1).

To remedy worry one must acquire the habit of hopefulness. To remedy the pessimism one must deliberately cultivate the habit of being optimistic channels of thought. This can best be accomplished by reading and prayerfully studying God’s Word and reaching out in helping others. Consider the following:

Repent: Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God (Philippians 4:6). Realize that it is not God’s will that anyone carry the burden of worry! God wants us to surrender to Him every worry that comes in the mind. We talk to God and tell Him we know by worrying we are sinning and ask Him to forgive us and to cleanse our minds from all the worries!

Pray: If we fail to focus on God through prayer we begin to experience increasing amounts of anxiety. Through continually praying, we can experience God’s release, relief and resolution for worry. We have immediate access to the peace of God when we surrender our burdens or worries to Him. The Bible verse referred to in previous section states that it is by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving that we should present our requests to God.

Take Captive our Thoughts: Failure to discipline or focus our thinking on godly thoughts and truths will lead us to drift into anxious meditation causing us to dwell on our fears, worries, and insecurities. We must pray as an alternative to worrying! We can accomplish this by following what Phillippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Trust What God’s Word Says: Worries are defeated if we follow Proverbs 3:5-6 which tells us to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto thine own understanding in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” When we worry, we are saying that God is not trustworthy to take care of us. How self-righteous we are when we think we are more able than God is to do anything. We must believe and trust that God has our back in every circumstance. He is the Omnipotent One not us.

Exercise Faith: Having faith means we rely in the absolute reality of God’s Word, whether we feel like it or not. God’s Word says in Hebrews 13:5 to,” Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” if we truly believe and have faith in His words, then we need not worry about anything! … “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Understanding this truth can liberate Christians from much self-imposed worry, fear, and insecurity.

Spend Quality Time with God: Only by immersing ourselves in God’s word can we know the true heart of God. Spending quality time with Him through His word and prayer will result in refreshment for our Spirit. We can also experience a powerful release from the bondage of mental anxiety by intimately knowing God. It increases our faith in Him. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Liberty from the bondage of paralyzing depressing thoughts and feelings! This is indeed glorious Truth!

The truth is that worry is a learned habit passed on from generation to generation, affecting some more than others. If from the dawn of reasoning the child is taught to have firm reliance and faith in God, during the trying adult years, the solid faith foundation laid will prove an anchor in the stormy seas of life. But it’s never too late to learn of Jesus, He says “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). O how grateful we should be that Jesus is willing and able to bear all our infirmities and strengthen and heal all our failings and lack of faith if it will be for our good and for His glory. “There is never danger of our being too much in earnest and having too much confidence and trust in God. Be of good courage; look to Jesus constantly” (PC 28.2).

Things will go wrong in this life and one may shed tears over the result of this; but don’t worry. The blessed Master has all His work from end to end under His masterly supervision. All He asks is that you shall come to Him for your orders, and obey His directions. He carries everything—upon His divine heart. Why worry? {ChS 243.1}

“Cultivate restfulness, and commit the keeping of your souls unto God as unto a faithful Creator. He will keep that which is committed to His trust. You have enough to praise God for already…But the good work will go on if you will only go forward, and not be trying to adjust everything to your own ideas. Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, and be ye thankful. Let the Lord have room to work. Do not block His way. He can and will work if we will let Him” (ChS 243.2).

 “Do not worry,…The Lord is acquainted with your situation. Nothing escapes His notice. He will hear your prayers; for He is a prayer-hearing and a prayer-answering God. Put your trust in Him, and He will certainly bring relief, in His own way” (Ev 392.4).

 “Let us turn from the dusty, heated thoroughfares of life to rest in the shadow of Christ’s love. Here we gain strength for conflict. Here we learn how to lessen toil and worry, and how to speak and sing to the praise of God. Let the weary and the heavy-laden learn from Christ the lesson of quiet trust. They must sit under His shadow if they would be possessors of His peace and rest” (CH 251.3).

Written by: Dr. Thomas Jackson, Director

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