“You’re next”, the doctor told me. This was not the usual announcement you heard while waiting at the doctor’s clinic. It was a severe warning. The reason being two of my close relatives passed away due to cancer, and it was her way of warning me that I could be the next person. Those words rang loud and clear in my ears, not just on that day, but it echoed in me for months. Worry and anxiety began to creep into my life, and soon with every mild physical pain I felt, I thought it could probably be cancer.
We all have our shares of worries and anxieties. What would happen to me with the recession? What if my company went bankrupt? What if I lost my job? What if I lose all my savings? How will I pay my bills? Will my loved one die of cancer? What will happen to me when I grow old? Will there be someone to take care of me? What if I die? The harrowing experiences of the past and the fears of our future quite often stifle our present. Like the rushing of waves, these anxious worries beat and crash upon our heart and mind until we are broken and shattered like the corroded rocks that line the seashore.
Worries like the rushing of waves that beat and crash upon our heart and mind until we are broken and shattered like the corroded rocks that line the seashore.
A survey conducted in three metros of India revealed that stress puts 67% of men and 63% of women at risk of heart disease. Chronic stress has a detrimental effect on our life – it robs us of our peace of mind, affects our behaviour, disrupts our thinking ability, harms our physical health and breaks our relationships.
“Worry is like a rocking chair. It will give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere”.
Strangely when I think of stress, I am reminded of once reading about an unusual bird – The Storm Thrush. This bird belongs to the Thrush family and what’s interesting about this tiny bird is its peculiar behaviour. Unlike other birds seeking shelter in the wildest of storms, this small bird would fly up to the topmost twig of the highest tree and perch itself on a twig. Standing on the twig swaying with the strong bellowing wind, the bird would begin to sing. What unusual and interesting behaviour! Looking at ourselves, we too have our share of “storms” – challenges, uncertainties and fears – but we have a choice. We can choose to be like that miniature bird and stand up amid the turmoil around us.
“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength.” – Charles Spurgeon
Jesus, in Mathew’s narrative, sitting among the crowds of people, tells them and us, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear”. He then asks. “Can anyone of you, by worrying, add a single hour to your life?”. What a profound truth!
For me, it’s about 8 years since the doctor declared my future. I held on to this thought and fear for days and even months until I told myself, “Nothing will happen to me without Jesus’ permission”.
The next time “worry” is worrying you, it’s time you and I like that little bird, stand up in faith and sing.
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