Needless Pain

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Have you ever gone through a great deal of heartache over something only to discover that you didn’t have to worry about it after all?

One night, several months ago, I was putting my kids to bed after a rather hectic day. I came to my middle daughter’s door and heard her crying. I gently pushed open the door and she looked up, startled, tears streaming down her round little face. I walked over to her and put my arms around her.

“Why are you crying?” I asked.

“B-b-because I thought you weren’t coming to say goodnight to me!” she sobbed.

I held her close to me and said, “oh honey, of course I was coming to say goodnight to you. It’s just been a very busy night and we are all out of routine.”

“Oh… I was just worried…”

I wiped the tears off her cheek and went on, “if you ever think there’s something wrong, just come and tell me about it. I might be able to help. There’s no need for you to sit and cry for nothing.”

Reassured, she gave me a watery smile and squeezed me tightly. I tucked her in, kissed her goodnight and within a short time she was asleep.

How often are we like a little child, worrying, weeping and wearing ourselves down with anxiety? God looks at us in our anxiety and thinks, “you’re worried about that little thing? Why didn’t you come and tell me? I can take care of that for you. There’s no need for you to cry.”

Last night during worship, we sang the old hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and this phrase jumped out at me:

Oh, what peace we often forfeit, oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Needless pain.

I don’t always think of my worries as needless, yet they often are. God tells us several times in His Word not to be anxious.

Anxiety is a human condition much like discontent, anger and many other reactions to circumstance. We have to learn trust. We have to learn to let go of our anxieties and place them into God’s capable hands.

Another thing jumped out at me in that hymn. These phrases were repeated: “take it to the Lord in prayer” or “carry everything to God in prayer.”

– 1 –

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer

– 2 –

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

– 3 –

Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he’ll take and shield thee;
thou wilt find a solace there.

~ Joseph M. Scriven

If you struggle with worry or there is some trouble weighing you down, commit this verse to memory:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

~ Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭6-7‬ ESV, emphasis mine

It’s a command with a promise. (Like the people of faith who were trained to trust. They were given similar commands: “Go. I will be with you.”)

Commands are not suggestions by the way. A marine Corps drill sergeant isn’t going to say, “ok, get down and try to do 20 push-ups.”

No. I can’t even visualize that.

He commands: “Drop and give me 20!”

God is commanding us: Drop [your anxieties] and give thanks!

He promises: If you drop and give thanks, the peace of God will guard your heart and your mind. God always keeps His promises, but don’t take my word for it, read His Book.

Carry your worries to God in prayer every single time they rise in your mind.

God is our Heavenly Father. He looks on us like a child. He wants to listen, longs to help, and yearns to comfort. He’s waiting for us to ask.

Anxiety and worry are like heavy stones. They weigh us down. They make us uncomfortable. They cause us to lose sleep at night. They are unnecessary weight. Needless pain.

Drop your stones.

God will carry them for you.

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