“Transforming Worry & Fear into Faith that Conquers Giants”
By Dennis Rainey
There it was … a prehistoric, genuine relic. I didn’t need Carbon-14 dating to determine its age. It wasn’t that old, and I still have my memory.
This treasure wasn’t discovered on an ancient archeological dig in Israel, but in a cardboard box headed for the parking lot dumpster. When I moved out of my FamilyLife office I asked a half dozen of our grandchildren to help. It was a blast! But it was impossible to oversee all these “ants” as they swarmed my office and went to work packing. This treasure was found in one of the boxes they packed that day three years ago.
The relic was an 8-inch by 8-inch stained and shellacked pine board with ancient-looking paper and hand calligraphy of what used to be my favorite verse, Philippians 4:6-7:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
I turned the homemade plaque over and realized it was a treasure my kids and grandchildren would fight over someday. But you’ll have to wait until the end of this blog to understand why.
The worrier and the worry-wart
My mom was a genetic carrier of the “worry gene.” She had the “bent,” but I took the “bend” and nearly “broke” her. LOL!!! I feel sorry for her now. I think I was the chief culprit and ground zero for her worry. She used to affectionately call me a “worry-wart.”
Looking back on my growing up years, I gave her several substantial reasons to be anxious. I remember sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night and stealing our family car … when I arrived back at the scene of the crime, the lawn chair outside my window was gone and the window was locked!
But she had the last laugh … she gave me the gene!
Back in my college days I worried about:
Girls … would I ever find one I liked/loved and who liked me?
My looks … hey, there’s only so much that a guy can do! There is no paint that will cover “the barn.”
My grades … I had good reason to fret, my freshman year GPA mid-term was1.5!
My direction in life and future … what in the world was I going to do when I graduated and had to grow up?
For the first two years in college my life was a mess because I treated Jesus Christ like He was a spare tire. I kept Him in the trunk until I had a crisis. Out He would come for two or three days or a couple hundred miles, whichever came first, then after the crisis was over I’d chuck Him back in the trunk … until the next crisis.
The summer of my junior year, I read and studied the first three chapters of Romans. I began to find out about the God of the universe Who loved me and didn’t want to be a spare tire or just a passenger in the front seat of my life. No, He came and died for me. He came to take over my life and be the Driver, if I’d let Him.
Learning about Philippians 4:6-7
That’s when I heard a message on a cassette tape (some who read this may have to Google “cassette” to find out what that is, but just remember this was in the late 1960s and it was the best we had!). I listened to the speaker, Jon Braun, unpack Philippians 4:6-7 and explain what God said about my habit of worry. Let me attempt to share not only what it says, but how we can apply it.
First, there’s God’s command: “Be anxious for nothing …”
Do you know what the word “nothing” means in Greek, the original language of the New Testament? It means NADA. It means don’t worry about “diddly squat,” anything, no thing, nothing, zilcho, zero, zippo, or zot! (yes “zot” is a word. Google it!)