Russell Baker of The New York Times wrote the following words, tongue-in-cheek: “They buried Gumbacher last week. The death certificate said he died of Coliosorus Gravis, more commonly known as the spreading decline, but his friends know better. Gumbacher was slowly scared to death by the combined efforts of several thousand national campaigns to help him live longer. At the end, Gumbacher simply had more terrors weighing upon him than the human body can support…. Everyday science was discovering that something Gumbacher had been exposed to all his life was lethal. He finally concluded that all he could do was die. When someone mentioned his plight to scientists, they replied, ‘If more people in this land had the good sense to be afraid of living, they would live longer.’”
I could give you the statistics: 40% of most worries never happen, 30% were about past decisions we cannot alter, 12% were about mostly false criticism, 10% were about our health which only grew worse with worry, and only 8% of what we worry about is a legitimate concern.
I could give you the sermon: Jesus said, “Do not be anxious about your life…which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life?” But in the end, like old Gumbacher, we’d just start worrying about something else—like worrying too much!
So maybe the best way to exit the worry trap is not to try to stop worrying, but to start to do something else that takes worry’s place.
The Bible recommends two things to replace worry:
Prayer—Cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares about you.
(1 Peter 5:7)
Laughter—A cheerful heart is a good medicine; but a downcast spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)
So learn from poor old Gumbacher and take God at his word, AND don’t take yourself too seriously.