Sometimes we need to just wait a while in order to see what is really happening. Many years ago, Lin Yutang lived with his son in a fort in the country of China. One night, their only real possession, which was a horse, ran away. The neighbors said, “We are sorry for your misfortune. But Lin said, “How do you know this is a misfortune.” A week later, the horse returned with a whole herd of wild horses. “The neighbors said, “Oh, we see what you mean. That was good fortune. But Lin said, “How do you know this is good fortune?” A week later, Lin’s son tried to ride one of the wild horses and broke his leg. The neighbors said, “Oh, we see what you mean. That was not good fortune.” But Lin said, “How do you know this is not good fortune.” A week later, a Chinese warlord came along … drafting men to fight in his army. He had no use for an old man, or for a young man with a broken leg. The neighbors said, “Oh, we see what you mean, this really was good fortune.” But Lin said, “How do you know this is a good fortune.” Now, this story could go on & on. The truth is, no event is final on this earth! A lot of days … we may not be able to properly evaluate on the day that things happen. But we must remember that all the days are not in yet. We must also remember that all things work together for good to those who love God, and to those who are called according to His purpose. (Rom. 8:28)
One Sunday as a family drove home from church, a little girl asked, “Mommy, there’s something I don’t understand.” Mom said, “Oh? What is it?” “Well, God is bigger than we are, and God is so big that He could hold the world in His hand. Is that true?” Mom responded, “Yes, that’s true, honey.” The little girl then said, “But Mommy, does God come to live inside of us when we believe in Jesus as our Savior. Is that true, too?” Mom replied, “Yes dear, that is right.” With a puzzled look on her face the little girl then asked, “If God is bigger than us, and He lives in us, wouldn’t He show through?”
I recently read about a certain man who said to himself, “I cannot speak in front of people. I don’t feel I have the talent to do anything in Christian service. But, I can put two extra plates on my dinner table every Sunday and invite two people to break bread with me.” He went along doing that for more than thirty years. He became acquainted with a lot of people who attended his church. Many of them became Christians through his personal act of service. When he died … a few days before his funeral It was made known that any of those who had become Christians through his influence would be welcomed in a special area set aside for them. A hundred and fifty people came in honor of the memory of the man who had preached to them the gospel of the extra dinner plate.
There was a guy from Katy, Texas who needed his suit dry cleaned before he left on a trip. He remembered one store with a huge sign, “One-Hour Dry Cleaners.” It was on the other side of town, but he needed his suit, so he drove out of his way to drop it off. After the clerk filled out the necessary information, he told her, “I have some errands to run and I’ll be back in an hour to pick it up.” She said, “I can’t get this back to you until Thursday.” Frowning now, he responded, “I thought you did dry cleaning in an hour,” “Oh, no,” she replied, that’s just the name of the store, we don’t actually do that.” There are many folks today who wear a sign saying that they are a Christian, but they fail to deliver the goods. There are many churches which do not deliver on what the sign out front says either.
Of course I am jesting when I say this, but I have reason to believe that worrying really does work. My proof is that most of the things that I worry about just don’t even happen. Therefore my worrying worked. NOT SO! Consider this, the average person’s worry is focused on 40% of things that will never happen, 30% of things about the past that can’t be changed, 12% of things relating to the criticism of others (Things mostly untrue), 10% about health (Which gets worse with stress), and 8% about real problems that will be faced. Those things can be taken to the Lord in prayer.
Anyway … here’s a fun little exercise to try out some time, to help people let go of their worries. Purchase some balloons and give one to every listener. Instruct them that, in a moment you are going to read a list of stressful situations. Tell them that each time they hear a situation similar to one they experienced recently, they are to blow a breath into their balloon. Tell them to be careful to not let any of the air out until they are instructed to do so. Warn them that based on their worry levels, some of their balloons may pop before you are finished reading the list, and that’s okay. (You can make or adapt this one to your own list)
HERE’S THE LIST:
1. You got into a disagreement with a family member.
- You worried about finances.
- Your car needs something repaired.
- 4. You failed at something.
- You broke a Commandment.
- You felt afraid.
- You felt hurt by someone’s actions.
- You felt like giving up on someone or something.
- You worried about something.
- You worried that you were worrying too much.
Next instruct those that still have their balloon in contact, to hold them up and remember to not let any air out until they are told to do so. Ask everyone to look around and notice the different sizes. Tell them to notice that probably everyone now has some air in their balloon, and that their plight is common to all. Explain that these balloons represent our stress levels. Explain that worry is the number one joy stealer in life. Worry is a thief! Explain that maybe even some in the room are unable to concentrate and fully give themselves to God right then, because their minds are drifting to the problems and worries that they feel they have. Maybe some are asking God questions like: “Why have you not given me a job? Why have you not restored my marriage? Why have you not rescued me from my financial distress? Why have you not taken my illness from me? Why God? Why?
Now … read Matthew 11:28. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Explain) Next, explain how they must let go of the worry in their lives and start living. Then instruct them that this is how we are going to start the process. Instruct them that it is now time to let go of their balloons. (Say something like 1 – 2 – 3 let go!) Finally lead them in prayer that God will allow them to let their worries fly away just like their balloons.
Some years ago in a very small town, so small they had a volunteer fire department, there was a fire that was really burning at a certain man’s house. As he watched, he phoned his insurance company, but there was no answer. In deep frustration he told someone, “How come my agent is never there when I need him?” One of the firefighters tapped him on the shoulder. “That’s because I’m right here, putting out the fire,” responded the agent. God is closer to us than even a volunteer fireman.