Saturday, October 18, 2008

Worry, Stress, and the Economy

Over the last several weeks a number of news stories have been concerned with the issue of stress and worry over the failing economy in America. In one story Economic Stress Taking Toll from NBC says, "Doctors say this financial mess could turn into a mental meltdown for a lot of us." Another story entitled Economic Stress and How to Cope at Home states,

If the financial crisis has you feeling stressed out, you're not alone. A newly released survey by the American Psychological Association shows the declining economy is causing stress levels to skyrocket. As things get worse on Wall Street and those money troubles trickle down to home, people are getting stressed out, and it's showing.
Worry is the result of misplaced trust. For Believers, worry is needless because we know that our God is the all-sufficient God who is not only able but willing to provide for all of our needs. This includes our financial needs. Jesus said, "So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them" (Matthew 6:31-32).

Christians understand that God will supply all of our needs and that we can trust Him. To worry about what we eat, wear, drink, or where we live is to think as the world thinks. The reason the world stresses in times of economic slow down is because the only hope it has is in the ever changing and unstable stock market or government or banking system. But the hope of the Christian is in the God who is omnipotent, eternal, unchanging, and loving.

Jesus also said, "Do not be anxioius for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matthew 6:34). Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, "Although it is very right to think about the future, it is very wrong to be controlled by it." When we worry and stress over what might be we are allowing the future to rob us of our joy today. In his devotional book, Strength for Today, John McArthur said, "Lack of joy is a sin too. Many people lose their joy because of worry about tomorrow, and they miss the victory God gives them today."

Hebrews 13: 8 says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow." When we worry about the future, is that not equivalent to denying that the Lord who took care of us yesterday can take care of us tomorrow? Of course it is! In Matthew 6:31-32 Jesus is reminding us that God knows our needs and He has all the resources and love to provide for us today and in all the days to come.

How do we gain victory over worry? Rick Warren says, "Worry is the warning light that God is really not first in my life at this particular moment." Because worry says that God is not big enough to handle my troubles. Jesus says in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." He said that at the conclusion of an entire sermon on worry. The antidote to worry? Put God first!

Just a thougt.