Sunday, July 19, 2015

The anger behind fretting

And He said to His disciples, "For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life's span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? (Luke 12:22-26 NASB)

The previous post considered the ravens and the care God provides for them, as well as the importance of not fretting. Today, we look at fretting in more depth. We may find that this concept is a little different than we thought.

The word used in Psalm 37:1 "Do not fret" is charah and is used to mean to fret or be angry. It implies the heat of melted wax, that burns and sticks, continuing to burn even without flame. Dictionary.com defines the verb "fret" as "to feel or express worry, annoyance, discontent; to cause corrosion, gnaw into something; to make a way by gnawing, corrosion, wearing away." 

"Fret" is a word that's used so commonly it has begun to lose its meaning, at least for me. I may call it fretting, but it is actually annoyance with God because He has not provided what I expected to receive or because He has allowed uncertainty when what I wanted is the assurance that circumstances will go my way. Ouch. That doesn't sound like a faithful servant of God, does it?

When I entertain worry, or fretting, it gnaws and wears away at me. Fretting, or worrying, is a form of annoyance and discontent that causes corrosion. It erodes our peace, our contentment, our joy. When we look at the consequences of worry and fretting, they aren't as attractive, are they?

In these verses, Jesus told His disciples, (Leanna Paraphrase) "You can't add a single hour to your life, so why worry? Trust the One who holds every hour of your life in His hands." He was right. I'd like to think I can change something by my worry and fret. 

The hard truth is that I don't change my circumstances with worry and fretting at all. I only change me. I erode my peace and joy, but don't impact the problem I'm worrying about in any way whatsoever. (unless to make things worse by worry) Why worry, then? It's pointless, especially when the One who holds the world in His capable hands is also holding my life there, as well. 

Paul's instructions to the church at Philippi are words we would do well to heed.

"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 surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7 NASB)
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Our Father, forgive me for my worry, anger, discontent. Help me to put my trust in You and leave it there. My life is in you hands. Do with it as you see fit. Thank you for handling that which I cannot handle myself.  In the name of Jesus, Amen.