Work and Worries

Work and Worry—Write Right

I sometimes use work to cope with worry. When I have enough work, my worries disappear. I know the concerns are still there, but the work pushes them into the shadows. I can pretend they don’t exist, I’m fine, nothing’s wrong.

The work, though, often ebbs. Some weeks I work ten hours per day or more; other weeks, I struggle to fill the hours. When the latter occurs, it yanks the worries from the shadows. They rush me like alleyway thugs, and I falter.

The worries sense the vulnerability and press their attack. If I haven’t prepared myself for the fight, I get knocked down and dragged out. The worries turn into depression and despair. The forces gather together, a giant gang impossible to defeat. I cower on the ground and wonder

from where does my help come?

The words rise from within me, but I recognize they aren’t my words. I tend toward compulsive thinking and worrying. I try to find a way out on my own, an escape route or battle plan. No, these words definitely aren’t mine. They belong to the psalmists (Psalm 121), men who might have witnessed David’s encounter with Goliath (1 Samuel 17).

The psalmists answer their query in the next couplet:

My help comes from the Lord,

Who made heaven and earth.

David says something similar when he meets Goliath. He knows he possesses no real weapons capable of toppling a giant. He might have killed a bear and a lion to protect his family’s sheep, but David knows nothing of fighting giants. David can’t go into the battle alone.

Nor does he. David admits his need for an ally, a defender and protector, and calls upon him.

You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted.

David, however, doesn’t merely call upon heavenly aid or point out Goliath’s folly in taunting God. He emphasizes God’s divine purpose in defending him and the people of Israel.

This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hands.

David faces a literal giant, but the purpose of his battle is no different from my regular bout with worry. When I enter the fight, I must remember I am not alone. All I need to do is call upon God and give the match to him. When I surrender the worries and the fight, the miracle happens: God battles for me. He shows himself so glorious and bright that the world sees and stands amazed.

So do I. Every time he rescues me, he reveals that he delivers, not me and my oh-so-great plans and strategies. I marvel at his glory and goodness because, like the Israelites, I’m prone to forgetful wandering. God, though, never forgets. He remains constant and true, even as I dart past a shadowy alleyway or get sucked into one to face yet another worrisome giant.

Image: library_mistress (Creative Commons)