One of life’s greatest challenges is maintaining a sense of composure when faced with trials and tribulations. Being a Christian should make this easier, but we often get so overwhelmed that this advantage is nullified. To achieve a sense of peace during trials, we must stay close to the Lord. While we may be able to get by on our own temporarily, we’ll eventually reach our breaking point.
When I was a college student, I joined a Catholic prayer group. Led by two priests, this large group comprised laypeople of various ages. The common characteristic of those involved was a strong belief in God’s providence. No matter what tragedy or difficulty these people were faced with, the response was the same. Death, unemployment, illness, or any other imaginable problem all brought about the response: “Praise God!”
While I desperately wanted to share in their practice of giving thanks in all circumstances, part of me felt that they were out of touch with reality. As I’ve grown closer to the Lord, I realize that the folks in the prayer group were completely correct. God doesn’t want us to worry and can help us to trust in all circumstances. How is this possible? Rather than consult the experts of the world, start by opening the Bible. Here’s a sample passage:
“[Jesus] said to [his] disciples,
‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry
about your life and what you will eat,
or about your body and what you will wear.‘” Luke 12:22
Worry is useless. So why do we spend so much time doing something useless? The reason is most likely twofold: our temperament and underestimating God’s providence.
Some people, like yours truly, are hard-wired to worry. It’s almost instinctive that as soon as problems arise, worry kicks in.
In spite of this propensity, we can learn to modify our behavior and use our energy productively. What are some constructive activities we can undertake when faced with problems? Prayer, reading the Bible, and receiving the sacraments will produce positive results in our lives.
Suppose, for instance, that you lost your job today. I guarantee that if you read Luke 12:22 several times throughout the days that follow you will feel some sense of peace. You might have to read it lots of times for a few days before the peace sets in, but the feeling will eventually arrive and take hold.
Because the Lord speaks directly to you through the Bible. Scripture passages really do have a positive effect.
In addition, after you pray and act on your prayers in a constructive way by seeking employment that you want, the result could be a new, better job. I can guarantee that worrying won’t yield a happy outcome. Remember, never underestimate God.
Adapted from A Worrier’s Guide to the Bible: 50 Verses to Ease Anxieties by Gary Zimak, foreword by Teresa Tomeo, © 2012 Liguori Publications (821639). To order, visit Liguori.org or call 800-325-9521.