The Unwelcome Visitor

Company. For as long as I can remember, I have never met an elderly person who was not happy to have company. Fellowship and being together with other people is one of the basic human needs. This becomes even more important as we age and lose contact with the outside world. Sitting within our four walls and struggling with loneliness, we literally long for visitors to interrupt the monotony of our existence. And so, one waits for a visit from one’s children, relatives, siblings, or even the pastor. Some begin their day by asking, “I wonder if anyone will stop by today?”

While visiting an older sister once, she told me she had already had company that day. I didn’t want to pry and ask about the visit but would have loved to know who had been there before me. Perhaps she noticed my curiosity. I had to listen carefully, because she spoke very softly, “The demon of worry has already visited me today!” I had not expected that. She obviously was not pleased about her visitor. It was an “unwelcome visit.”

Who of us doesn’t know the demon of worry?! He comes at an unwanted time, makes himself comfortable, talks without end, and just doesn’t want to leave. You keep looking at the clock and still can’t sleep; the visitor is still “sitting” there. You literally have to “kick him out” to get rid of him. And even that is not an easy thing to do.

The Word of God speaks bluntly of the “plague of worry.” Peter, in his letter to a scattered Christendom, assuming that the unwanted visitor would come to them as well, writes: “all your care [worries]” (1 Peter 5:7). So, I suppose, everyone has his worries. Some talk about their cares; others stay silent and carry them alone.

Surely you have also noticed that, at least at times, it seems that worries multiply with increasing age. The bundle of worries seems to get bigger and becomes heavier to carry. If you look at it matter-of-factly, it becomes clear. Increasing age brings changes with it, and not just a few. Changes come unsolicited, unexpected, and mostly undesired. Probably the worst of it all is having to let go. You have to part with things that belonged to you for years, such as your driver’s license (and therefore your car), your home, your mobility, your independence, yes, and often your health. Slowly but surely you lose control and feel more and more helpless. It would not be normal at all to have no worries. In the end, we are and remain human. Peter knew this and, therefore, addressed this problematic issue and also its solution in his letter.

Worries are connected to questions. The body slowly breaks down and everything is more difficult to do. That is just the way it is. A brother once told me, “By the time I button up my shirt, I’m tired again!” Even putting on socks becomes more challenging and takes longer. “How much longer will I be able to look after myself?” And the more you dwell on it, the more despondent you can become. The unwanted visitor is of no help to us. He whispers all manner of thoughts to us, and the tower of worries grows higher and higher. And our situation becomes more hopeless. 

It is true, as someone once said, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives us something to do, but it doesn’t move us forward.” – He’s right. Worries do indeed keep us occupied. They give us plenty to talk about (what else is there to say?) and keep doctors and pharmacists busy, but don’t change the situation at all. Jesus expressed this clearly: “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:27 NIV)

But not only that, worrying comes with side effects: 

– Worry robs us of time and energy. 

– It attacks our health. 

– It questions God, as if He were unable to bring us                  through. 

– It arouses discontent and doubt. 

– It does not portray God in a good light and is         negative advertising for Christianity. 

– It steals our joy because it is difficult to rejoice and         worry at the same time. 

– We put ourselves in the spotlight. It becomes about         us (the very thing that always bothered us about         others). 

– And finally, we run the risk of becoming a “mischief-maker (a meddler) in the affairs of others  [infringing on their rights]” (1 Peter 4:15, Amplified Bible Classic Edition), because worrying is something God has reserved for Himself. 

In addition, it is claimed that 90% of our worries never come true. In plain language, worrying is totally in vain. 

I’m sure you feel the same way I do. I would like to refrain from this evil. But is that even possible? Can it be done? If so, what is the best way to deal with the demon of worry?

James writes, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (4:7). He is alerting us to take action. Instead of giving worry free rein, we are told to do something about it. Don’t offer the demon of worry a seat. Don’t let him move in with you, but resist him. This can be done in a variety of ways. 

Here are some helpful tips:

– Change your focus. Do not look at what you lack but at what you have. Think about how you have made it through life and how the Lord has never let you down. 

– Seek help and direction in the Word of God. Let the Word carry you. Be encouraged by the stories of Joseph and also Job. Though invisible, God was their constant companion.

– Associate with grateful people.

– Sing. Songs are an antidote to worry. Just think of the beginning of the song, “What a Friend we have in Jesus….” 

– Do good. Encourage others. Let God show you an assignment. There is so much to do. You will find you will forget your worries.

In a church service, a sister began her testimony by quoting Psalm 103:1-3. She said, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; Who forgives all your WORRIES, Who heals all your diseases….”   – She had only mixed up one word, “Who forgives all your WORRIES” (it should really say “iniquities”). Yes, He also forgives our worries, but He also wants to free us from them.

What are actually your greatest worries? – Is it the children? Fear of the future? Is it health (or lack thereof)? Whatever it may be, worries have one thing in common: they make life difficult, sometimes almost unbearable. 

Peter wrote, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Perhaps he remembered Jesus’ words, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Worriers belong to the burden-bearers, but they are urged here to cast their cares on the Lord.

Sister (and brother), why don’t you cast your cares on Him? Let go of everything that weighs you down and makes you afraid. Cling to the second part of the verse: “for He cares for you.” Don’t get involved with the unwelcome visitor. If he tries to make you fret, remind him there’s no reason to worry because you have a God Who cares for you. 

Harry Semenjuk

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