Worried to Death
by Amelia Edith
To say we are worried to death is a common expression; but do we
really comprehend the terrible truth of the remark? Do we realize that
the hounds of care and anxiety and fretful inability may actually tear
and torment us into paresis, or paralysis, or dementia, and as
virtually worry us to death, as a collie dog worries a sheep, or a cat
worries a mouse? And yet, if we are Christian men and women, worrying
is just the one thing not needful; for there are more than sixty
admonitions in the Bible against it; and the ground is so well covered
by them that between the first Fear not and the last, every
unnecessary anxiety is met, and there is not a legitimate subject for
Are we troubled about meat and money matters? We are told to
consider the fowls of the air; they sow not, neither do they reap nor
gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not
much better than they?
Have we some malignant enemy to fight? Fear not! If God be for us,
who can be against us?
Are we in sorrow? I, even I, am He that comforteth you.
Are we in doubt and perplexity? I will bring the blind by a way
that they know not. I will lead them in paths they have not known. I
will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight.
Do we fear that our work is beyond our strength? He giveth power to
the faint; and to them that have no might, He increaseth strength.
Are we sick? He has promised to make all our bed in our sickness.
Do we fear death? He has assured us that in the valley and shadow of
death He will be with us.
Is the worry not for ourselves, but for wife and children that will
be left without support and protection? Even this last anxiety is
provided for. Leave thy fatherless children to me, and let thy widows
trust in me, and I will preserve them alive.
Now, if we really believe that God made these promises, how shameful
is our distrust! Do we think that God will not keep His word? Do we
doubt His good-will toward us? When He says that He will make all
things work together for our good, is the Holy One lying to our
sorrowful hearts? Thirty years ago I was thrown helpless, penniless,
and friendless upon these assurances of God; and in thirty years He has
never broken a promise. He is a God that keepeth both mercy and truth.
I believe in His goodness. I trust in His care. I would not, by
worrying, tell Him to His face that He either has not the power or the
good-will to help and comfort me.
Worriers live under a very low sky. They allow nothing for
probabilities and Godsends. They suffer nothing to go by faith. All
times and all places supply them with material. In summer, it is the
heat and the dogs and the hydrophobia. In winter, it is the cold, and
the price of coal. They take all the light and comfort out of home
pleasures; and abroad their complaints are endless. Yet to argue with
worriers is of little use; convince them at every point, and the next
moment they return to their old aggravating, vaporing credo.
What remains for them then? They must pray to God, and help
themselves. Egotism and selfishness are at the bottom of all worrying.
If they will just remember that there is no reason why they should be
exempted from the common trials of humanity, they may step at once on
to higher ground; for even worrying is humanized, when it is no longer
purely selfish and personal.
It is usually idle people who worry. Men and women whose every hour
is full of earnest business do not try to put two hours' care and
thought into one. Even a positive injury or injustice drops easily from
an honestly busy man. He has not time to keep a catalogue of his
wrongs, and worry about them. He simply casts his care upon Him who has
promised to care for himfor his health, and wealth, and happiness,
and good name; for all the events of his life, and for all the hopes of
Worriers would not like to see written down all the doubtful things
they have said of God, and all the ill-natured things they have said of
men; besides, they might consider that they are often righteously
worried, and only suffering the due reward of some folly of their own.
Would it not be better to ask God to put right what they have put
wrong; to lay hold of all that is good in the present; to refuse to
look forward to any possible change for the worse? I know a good man
who, when he feels inclined to worry over events, takes a piece of
paper and writes his fears down, and so faces the squadron of his
doubts,finding generally that they vanish as they are mustered.
Come, let us take Cheerfulness as a companion. Let us say farewell
to Worrying. Cheerfulness will bid us ignore perplexities and
annoyances; and help us to rise above them. God loves a cheerful liver;
and when we consider the sin and sorrow, the poverty and ignorance, on
every side of us, we may well hold our peace from all words but those
of gratitude and thanksgiving. Worrying is self-torment. It is always
preparing for the worst, and yet never fit to meet it. Cheerfulness
is a kind of magnanimity; it listens to no repinings; it outlooks
shadows; it turns necessity to glorious gain; and so breathing on every
gift of God, Hope's perpetual joy, it enables us, mid pleasant
yesterdays, and confident to-morrows,
To travel on life's common way,
In cheerful godliness.