Timeless Wisdom for Conquering Worry


I don’t know about you but worry is a battleground for me. Typically worry comes in the dead of night. I wake up and the thoughts begin to churn in my head and keep churning until I remember some sound advice from King David.

David’s story is a blend of heights and lows. The shepherd boy who slew the giant Goliath is named King to replace Saul. In his life, he won military victories, was adored by his followers and yet stumbled to the depths of melancholy when pursued by Saul. His life wasn’t perfect as we read about his sin with Bathsheba leading to murdering her husband as well as his rather dysfunctional family as his son plots to murder him. 

In spite of all of this—the good and the bad in his life—David always turned to God for help and forgiveness. He knew God would not turn him away but accept him in spite of his missteps. He knew God loved him and he didn’t hesitate to call upon Him for forgiveness, courage, and strength.

David often poured out his laments and his gratefulness to God in songs recorded in the book of Psalms. David wrote or is attributed to writing seventy-three of the 150 Psalms found in the Bible. The Psalm I grab when worry clouds my thinking is Psalm 37.

We don’t know the setting of this Psalm. David gives us a hint in verse twenty-five that it was possibly written near the end of his life. For me, that gives his advice more credence because he’s not writing theory, he’s writing from personal experience.

He begins by telling us, “Fret not…” He’s getting our attention. “Fret” is a strong word meaning “to burn with anger.” He’s warning us not to envy people who seemingly get ahead in spite of their lifestyle. But, his words can also clearly speak to fretting over anything—letting our mind be anxious.

He then clearly spells out the antidote to worry. Using the poetic form (in Hebrew) of an acrostic he shares what we need to do when worry or an anxious mind invades our thinking:

Trust. In verse three David encourages us to lean on, rely on and have confidence in the Lord. Why? Because “Truly you shall be fed.” The implication is that God will take care of us in spite of our circumstance as we “feed surely on His faithfulness.”

Delight. Jesus referred to this Psalm when he said, “But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides (Matthew 6:33 AMP).” As we delight in the Lord he works in us to mold us to His image and conform our desire to His desire and will.

Commit. Instead of fretting, we need to seek God’s direction and His path. We also need to commit to what the apostle Peter wrote, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7 NIV).” The idea is rolling our way (or our cares) upon Jesus.

Be still. David’s wisdom tells us to rest in the Lord and be still. Wait for Him to act with an attitude of hopeful patience. God makes no mistakes. He knows everything including the end result. Another Psalm reminds us, “He says, “Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10 NIV).”

Cease from anger. Many times worry can quickly drive us to anger. We’re upset about a situation, we chew on it, and we get angry because the situation is not going our way. The Bible tells us that such anger could lead us to rebel or react negatively. 

Worry and anxiousness can be devastating. Psalm 37 gives us timeless wisdom to help stop worry and focus instead on God. He ends the Psalm by saying, “And the Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they trust and take refuge in Him (Psalm 37:40 AMP).” He ends with one more timeless tip for ending the devastating cycle of worry—Take refuge in the Lord. That’s what brings peace of mind and escape from fretting over things we can’t seem to figure out. 

Peace needs to replace worry. John Wesley said:

We can only say, it [peace] is an unspeakable calmness and serenity of spirit, a tranquillity in the blood of Christ, which keeps the souls of believers, in their latest hour, even as a garrison keeps a city; which keeps not only their hearts, all their passions and affections, but also their minds, all the motions of their understanding and imagination, and all the workings of their reason, in Christ Jesus.


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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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