“God has stripped away the layers and revealed to me the ways that worry has eaten at my heart.” Bettie Gilbert

 

WORRY AND CONCERN MEET GOD

 

Have you ever felt worry bubbling over inside your mind? A few years ago, we visited the story of two women, Worry and Concern, and followed a portion of their days. We wondered what might have happened to them over the time that has transpired between then and now.

Will you join me as I venture into the allegory of Worry and Concern, Revisited?

WORRIED ABOUT MANY THINGS

She remembered that when she last felt the shackles around her feet, she had collapsed onto the floor of her home. It was the worry of that very home that had consumed her.

After all, this constant companion that seemed to dog her every waking hour was a worthy opponent: worry about her health, worry about her abilities, worry about her shelter, and finally worry about her life. Where was the answer?

She could not find the answer, so she began her usual habit of pacing around her room. The shackles tightened with every pass. How would she ever find a way to live out her final days? Was what the doctors said really true? Had her illness now progressed to terminal?

 

CONCERNED, BUT FINDING HOPE

Across town, another woman was also facing a memory. She had told her neighbors that she knew God would take care of her, even if the diagnosis for her illness continued to get worse. Could she believe her own words?

The weight of the concern upon her heart threatened to pull her down. How would she manage with this new terminal diagnosis? Where was the hope for living out her days in this lonely home?

She knew where her answer lay, so she began her usual habit: she pulled out her Bible and asked the Lord of her life to meet her concerns. She searched the pages, opening to where her study had landed just the day before:

Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.  Isaiah 46:4

She felt one lone tear trickle down her cheek, and then the floodgates opened. Her name was Concern and she knew where her hope would cling.

~~~~~~

GOD STRIPS WORRY AND GIVES REST

For those of you who have prayed for me as the Prayer Coordinator of Chronic Joy’s Prayer Pond, I am immensely thankful — but I have a confession to make: in this allegory that the Lord has given me, I have been both these women.

Worry runs so deeply in my family that I vowed I would never become a worrier. So instead of voicing my worries out loud to everyone, I tucked them inside and thought no one would ever know. Ah, but it does no good to tuck worry away—it will always find a way to manifest itself.

Over these years since my first chronic illness diagnosis, God has stripped away the layers and revealed to me the ways that worry has eaten at my heart. Then when my husband joined the ranks of chronic illness sufferers and we were faced with his terminal diagnosis, I heard another whisper from my Lord.

 

Will you let me slow your pacing and give you a place to rest?

 

He reminded me of Isaiah 46:4, first given to us decades ago when we were facing a cross-country move with our two young children. Many thought we were crazy to even consider such a thing, but when a friend called me and shared this verse that she had been praying for us, I knew that God was confirming our move.

More recently, when He brought the same passage to me, four different times, during the week that we learned about the closing date on the sale of our home, I knew that He was being very specific with me again.

My own pacing, my own worrying, even my own concern would not be my rescue. No, God is the only one capable of carrying His dear children, young or old, as He fulfills His purposes for their lives.

 

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Where will we go from here, with one of us carrying multiple chronic illnesses, each disease having no cure, and one of us with a terminal diagnosis limiting his time on this earth?  This is uncharted territory. Will my worry and concern meet God and find hope in this uncertainty?

Downsizing and selling our home, moving into our daughter and son-in-law’s home, and retiring early are not what either one of us had planned. Yet when God sets the seasons and the times, who are we to question? HE is our true and faithful LIVING HOPE — and He will bring the blessings of His sustaining grace.

~~~~~~~

WORRY AND CONCERN MEET GOD AND FIND HOPE

Would Worry and Concern meet God today?

Worry heard a strange sound at her door. It was such a light knocking that she might have missed it had she not been collapsed on the floor. There before her stood a stooped and weak woman, with a book in her hand.

“Would you mind if I come inside and read a passage from my favorite book to you? I know this may seem strange, but I have a feeling that HOPE is going to find a way to meet with both of us today.”

The Lord of Life looked on from above with a smile. He knew His children were going to be changed as they shared together this day. Worry was about to get a name change, and Concern was about to be filled with a joy that would overwhelm every heaviness she had ever carried.

Worry and Concern, Part 1 

Bettie Gilbert

Bettie Gilbert

Chronic Joy Contributing Writer

You can find Bettie blogging from her home in the far north suburbs of Chicago at bettiegsraseasons.com. She is walking forward with Jesus, in the middle of her own pain and weakness from multiple chronic illnesses. The beauty of nature is a joy that calls to Bettie, as do her family and nine young grandchildren. She and her husband have been married for over 40 years and take great joy in their weekend coffee breaks together.

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