By Samuel Logan Brengle
Worry is a great foe to holiness, and perfect trust puts an end to worry. 'I would as soon swear as fret,' said John Wesley. The murmuring and complaining of His children has ever been a great sin in the sight of God, and has led to untold suffering on their part.
Most people do not see this to be a sin, but it is. It dishonors God, blinds the eyes to His will, and deafens the ears to His voice. It is the ditch on one side of the pathway of trust. Lazy or heartless indifference is the ditch on the other side. Happy is the Christian who keeps out of either ditch, and walks securely on the pathway. Though it may be often narrow and difficult, it is safe. Praise the Lord!
Worrying prevents quiet thought, and earnest believing prayer, and it is, therefore, always bad. If circumstances are against us, we need quietness of mind, clearness of thought, decision of will, and strength of purpose with which to face these circumstances and overcome them. But all this is prevented or hindered by fret or worry.
First, we should not worry over things that we can help, but set to work manfully to put them right. Sir Isaac Newton, one of the greatest of men, labored for eight years preparing the manuscript of one of his great works when one day he came into his study, and found that his little dog, Diamond, had knocked over a candle, and burned all his papers. Without a sign of anger or impatience, the great, good man quietly remarked, 'Ah, Diamond, little do you know the labor and trouble to which you have put your master!' and without worrying sat down to do that vast work over again.
Second, we should not worry over the things we cannot help, but quietly and confidently look to the Lord for such help as He sees best to give. There is no possible evil that may befall us from which God cannot deliver us, if He sees that that is best for us, or give us grace to bear, if that is best. Holiness of heart enables us to see this. An accident befell a little child I heard of, which for twenty-four hours endangered its life. The sanctified mother did all she could, then committed her darling to the Lord, and peacefully awaited the issue. Within twenty-four hours the danger was passed, and the child was safe An old colored auntie who had witnessed the calm trust of the mother said, 'You certain is de queeres' woman I ever see! Here dis chile been in danger ob its life for twenty-four hours, and you not worried a bit!'
'Well, auntie,' said the mother, 'I couldn't trust the Lord and worry too; so I did what I could, and trusted, and you see that all is well. And I have had the peace of God in my heart for twenty-four hours.'
'Paul says, 'Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.' Again, Isaiah says: 'Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee; because he trusteth in Thee.'
Our business is, then, always to pray, give thanks for such blessings as we have, and keep our minds stayed on God, and worry about nothing.
Holiness makes a man so sure of the presence and love and care of God, that, while doing with his might what his hands find to do, he refuses to worry, and sings from his heart:
I will trust Thee, I will trust Thee, All my life Thou shalt control;
and he is certain that while he trusts and obeys, neither devils nor men can do him real harm, nor defeat God's purpose for him.
The heart realization of heavenly help, of God's presence in time of trouble, of angels encamping round about them that fear Him, is the secret of a life of perfect peace, in which anxious care is not shunned, but joyously and constantly rolled on the Lord, who 'careth for us,' and who bids us cast our care on him. Are you poor, and tempted to worry about your daily bread? God sent the ravens to feed Elijah, and later made him dependent upon a poor widow woman, with only enough flour and oil to make one meal for herself and her child. But through long months of famine God suffered not that flour to waste, nor that oil to fail.
The 'God of Elijah' is the God of those who trust in Him for evermore. Now, mind, such trust is not a state of lazy indifference, but of the highest activity of heart and will, and it is both a privilege and a duty. Of course, only such a perfect trust can save from undue anxiety, but this trust is an unfailing fruit of the Holy Spirit dwelling in a clean heart. And we can only keep this trust by always obeying the Holy Spirit, strict attention to daily duty, watchfulness against temptation, much believing, persevering, unhurried prayer, and by nourishing our faith on God's Word daily. The promises are given us to believe, and so we may rest in God's love and care, and not worry and fret ourself with useless anxiety.
Has someone talked unkindly or falsely about you? Don't worry, but pray, and go on loving them and doing your duty, and some day God will 'bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noon-day.' (Ps. xxxvii 6.)
Are you sick? Don't worry, but pray. The Lord can raise you up (James V. i5) or make the sickness work for good (Rom, viii. 28), as He did for a sister I knew in Chicago, who for five years was helpless in bed with rheumatism, but had five big sons converted during that time, and was so happy that she said she would not have had those five years spent in any other way.
Have your own wrong-doings brought you into trouble? Don't worry, but repent to the very bottom of your heart, trust in Jesus, walk in your present light, and the Blood will cleanse you, and God will surely help you.
Are you troubled about the future? Don't worry. Walk with God today in obedient trust, and tomorrow He will be with you. He will never fail you, nor forsake you.
If our trust were but more simple. We should take Him at His word.
And our lives would be all sunshine In the sweetness of our Lord.