We all have key moments in life that grabbed our attention and left a lasting impact on us. Some are shared by many. I remember the moments I heard about President Kennedy’s assassination, the space shuttle Challenger explosion and the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. Those events still seem like yesterday.
Other bookmark memories are more personal, and I’d like to share one of these. I remember the where, the when, and most importantly the why in this case that led me to a fuller understanding of what to bring and what to leave behind on the spiritual journey initiated by Jesus’ invitation of “Follow Me.”
I was invited to an ailing church member’s residence. I knew him fairly well, but I was about to gain deeper insight into how he walked through life. Entering his bedroom, I saw above his door a large sticker declaring, “Worry is a responsibility that God hasn’t give me.” Cute, you might be thinking—nice thought for the day. But allow me to share more details.
Meeting with a man of true vision
This man was blind since early childhood. Every day he woke up walking through a different world than mine. Every day he could face the challenge of bumping into a wall, falling down a staircase, reaching for something unreachable only to come up empty, being knocked over by someone on a sidewalk, falling from a curb, or being hit in a pedestrian crosswalk by a distracted driver. If anyone had reason to worry every waking moment of life, he could’ve made that claim! But he didn’t.
I often saw him walking in town with his red and white cane ever tapping on the pavement before him and swishing back and forth like a minesweeper to reveal any impediment. But as I looked above his doorway, suddenly in that moment 1+1=2 came together.
I now knew why the man did not live in a box of his own making lined with worries and fears. I came to realize what made his spiritual heart tick. The sticker’s message that worrying assumes responsibility God has not given was not merely stuck above his doorway as a witness to others, but was sealed in his heart as a life-giving instrument to move through life’s many chapters. My blind friend “saw” something that hasn’t yet come into view for many others—that worry is not heaven-sent but earthbound and homegrown.
Seeing through fearless eyes of faith
So now I have a question for you: What are you worried about? What is living rent-free in your mind and sinking your heart? Worry is a thin stream of destructive fear trickling through the mind. If indulged, it cuts a channel by which all other thoughts are drained.
How harmful is worry left unabated? As old expressions attest, not only can worry leave us “tied up in knots,” but we can “worry ourselves to death”—at least a “living death” by self-induced paralysis if not actually dying from stress. The bottom line is that cowering fear (worry on steroids!) cuts us off from God and will destroy us. The opposite of that—trusting faith—draws us near to God, bringing great blessing.
Helen Keller, noted blind lecturer, was known to say, “There are none so blind as those who will not see.” My sightless friend’s physical vision may have been hindered, but the eyes of his heart were wide open and “seeing” where God was leading Him.
The light of God penetrates all those who earnestly seek after Him. And in truly accepting Jesus’ invitation of “Follow Me” a miraculous internal vision is formed beyond physical senses: “‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10 1 Corinthians 2:9-10  But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.  But God has revealed them to us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
American King James Version×).
Worshipping God or worry?
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ confronted the issue of worry and left an extraordinary map and travel kit to help us navigate our lives and determine what to bring along and what to discard on our journey with Him.
His original audience went about on foot, moving less than five miles per hour, so they could take in a lot—very different from our fast-paced, 24/7 society. Still, they, too, had to be reminded to open their eyes and resist living in a darkened world of doubt and fear. As we read in Matthew 6, Jesus told them not to worship their worries—as having our minds centered on these amounts to—but to worship God. They could have only one Master!
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money [or to anything else, including worry and ungodly fear]. That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?” (New Living Translation, verses 24-25).
“Look at the birds,” He went on to say. “They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (verses 26-27, NLT). Have you ever seen sparrows hyperventilating over worry? Imagine them frantically chirping Why? When? or How?!
Continuing: “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need” (verses 28-33, NLT).
Dump the worrying
Seeking the Kingdom of God is not merely about a destination. It’s about a way of traveling—living righteously. As His children, God does expect us to plan with legitimate concerns in mind, but not to make plans to worry!
Consider that when we worry, God’s wisdom is made small and irrelevant. It’s as if we think He has a purpose without a plan and is unable to bring about what’s best for those who belong to Him. Further, God’s love is doubted. Worry implies that He cares little for those who have given their all to Him. It screams out that His grace is not sufficient. When we worry, God’s power is placed in lockdown.
It’s time to dump the worrying and throw out our wayward fears. That alone can seem scary. Sometimes we become so secure in our insecurities because we have lived with them so long. We have talked to them, nurtured them, put them to bed each night only to greet them in the morning. Dump them now and, amid your needful circumstances, earnestly ask in believing faith that our Heavenly Father would fill you with His love, power and wisdom!
In closing allow me to share more about the gentleman I had gone to see. He had called me to his apartment to let me know he had been diagnosed with cancer. He asked to be anointed (per James 5:14-15 James 5:14-15  Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:  And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
American King James Version×) and set apart for God’s perfect will to be made manifest.
My final visit with him was when I walked through another door in a hospital. There was no sign above that door other than a room number. His earthly days were numbered, but I shared with him what I learned from my previous visit that was now embedded in my mind and heart.
In this moment when a blind man in a dire situation had every human reason to be worried, I was able to share confidence in the great truth above that other doorway of remembrance—that worry was not a responsibility God had given to me or him. He smiled as he always smiled, knowing it to be true. I was happy I knew it too. Both of us were blessed. And that same blessing is there for you also.