Worry interrupts our sense of God’s presence. It chokes off the breath of the Holy Spirit. The word worry is derived from an Old English word wyrgan, which means “to strangle, or choke”. It was used to describe the attack of an animal that would tear , bite, or snap, especially at the throat. It could also be used to describe shaking or pulling with the teeth, for example, a dog shaking its victim.
These images lend us valuable insight as we consider the effect of worry on the human spirit. When we allow ourselves to be caught in the jaws of worry and anxiety, our spirit is choked, our energy is drained, and our enthusiasm is stifled.
Anxiety overwhelms and distracts us, turning our attention form confidence in God to concern with what we can or cannot do about our circumstances. We increase our spiritual energy when we bring worry under the dominion of the Holy Spirit. We can help do this by developing the habit of expectation. On a daily basis we can release our cares to God and thus cultivate confidence in His power and purposes for us.
We should intentionally remind ourselves of God’s presence and promises before we enter specific situations. This practice is illustrated frequently in the Scriptures, as God prepared His servants for specific tasks. Some of the most vivid examples occur with the prophets. Once example is when the king of Syria set out to ambush Elisha because the prophet kept warning Israel of Syria’s battle plans. One morning, Elisha’s servant arose and looked outside to see an army of Syrians surrounding the city. When he reported this threat to Elisha, the prophet was calm. Elisha said, “Do not be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” He then prayed that the servant’s eyes would be opened to see the spiritual reality in the midst of the earthly crisis. “Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:15-17) Elisha, a spiritual veteran, had learned to expect God’s help, and the heavenly army was already visible to him!
The point is to learn to “see” the spiritual reality at work in the midst of all our daily activities. Our experience may not be as dramatic as that of Elisha and his servant, but it can be just as real.