Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Don't be worried as it never helps

WHAT are you worried about?

Last week I watched a great film called Bridge of Spies, which is based on a true Cold War story.

A rather solemn Soviet spy (played by the wonderful Mark Rylance) is captured “red-handed” (ha ha) in New York.

During his trial the defence lawyer is the excellent Tom Hanks.

Several times during the film the lawyer asks his client: “Are you worried?”.

Now he had a lot of things he could worry about — the death penalty or life imprisonment in the USA, or possible interrogation, torture and “disappearance” in the USSR.

But each time the rather understated prisoner just replies, “Would it help?”

It made me smile every time, as worrying really wouldn’t have been of any use to him in his desperate situation.

And it made me think about my own reactions in facing the challenges of life, not least dealing with the current pandemic.

Us humans are a funny lot — no sooner has covid-19 become an unpleasant memory I’m sure we’ll find something else to worry about.

I love the BBC news but I find it interesting how often the interviewers say, “So what should we be worried about?” Maybe one day the reply will come back, “Would it help?”.

Perhaps it’s time to join Mark Twain in saying, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” I find the Bible to be a great source of practical help when I am anxious.

For example, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, but by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard your heart and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Now there’s a good promise that we can put into action. Being thankful and asking God for help takes worry out of the driver’s seat and puts peace in its place. Why not have a go?

Worry and anxiety are just milder words for fear and I’m glad that God’s most common command in the Bible is “Do not fear”.

One of Jesus’s close followers wrote, “Perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18). When we are in a difficult situation, turning to the God who is perfect love will help us to stand firm rather than be swept away by waves of worry.

Worry steals our joy, our focus and our strength — it never helps and it’s just not worth it. And yet it comes knocking on our door time and time again and, unless tackled, can lead to a self-destructive pattern of life.

So, this week, take a stand against fear and anxiety and when asked if you are worried, just smile and say, “Would it help?”

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