I did some searching of the medical impact of worry on the human body. I learned that when we worry, our physical reaction is ‘anxiety’ that produces extra adrenaline in our blood system. That is a defense mechanism that has been labeled the “fight or flight” syndrome. It goes back to the very beginning when life was more challenging. Someone, for example, encounters a wild animal and have to decide, “Do I run away, or do I fight?”
Here is the thing. Doctors tell us that if we worry excessively, and we are continually pumping the high octane blood through our system, and not using the adrenaline, it has adverse effects on us. I saw that there are issues like “dry mouth, digestive problems, increased heart rates, premature coronary disease.” There actually was a long list. Severe anxiety causes depression and can result in suicidal thoughts.
God knew that worry would neither accomplish anything and that it was not good for us. So it says in Phil. 4:6, “Don’t be anxious about anything.” Some people respond to a command like that and say, ‘I cannot help it. It is just who I am.” It may be who you are, but it isn’t who you have to be. God never asks of us anything He does not give us the ability to do.
In Phil. 4 we are told that we can have both the “peace of God” and the “God of peace.” It is an amazing chapter in the Bible. Essentially, Paul says the way to overcome worry is through “right praying, right thinking, and right living.” In v. 5 we are told, “The Lord is at hand.” God is present. He is close by. Paul sensed His presence. What power there is in the presence of a loved one, especially when it is the Lord.
We are told to pray and make supplication. The word for prayer is “praise.” We are to worship God in all circumstances. And we are to make earnest suppliction related to the issues we face. In all things we are to be grateful. He says, “With thanksgiving.” When we pray right, God assigns His peace to guard our heart. Then we are told to think on certaint things. Rather than worry, think about what is right, and good, and reasonable. Then if we live right, Paul says we experience God’s presence more fully.
We can sing, “Don’t worry be happy.” But it isn’t just a matter of deciding not to worry. It is doing something about the issues that cause us worry. We carry them to the only one who can do anything about what is ahead. God loves you and will guide you.