Ven Christine Froude, Archdeacon of Malmesbury, on holding on to worries
A young woman confidently walked around the room while carrying in her raised hand, a glass of water.
She was leading a training day on wellbeing. She asked "How heavy is this glass of water?"
She smiled as answers ranged from 250 -500 grms. She took her time and then replied. "The weight of this glass of water doesn't matter, what matters is how long I hold it.....
“If I hold it for a minute it's not a problem…
“If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm…
“If I hold it for a day, someone will need to call an ambulance!
“The longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."
She went on to say: "That is the way it is with worry! If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on...
“As with the glass of water, so it is with the worry in our lives, sooner or later we have to lay it down, or we will be overcome by it."
Jeremiah had a lot to worry about; as a prophet, he had a very tough job.
He had the task of telling the nation of Judah that God was deeply angered by their constant disobedience to his commands and their continued worship of false gods.
Jeremiah warned them that punishment was coming, Not just a time of austerity, But that they would leave their country and become immigrant slaves in another land.
Scripture tells us that the people were contemptuous in their response to Jeremiah's warnings. He was aghast that the people had turned their back on God and rejected the warning they had been given.
Jeremiah was a very worried man.
And then God speaks and reminds Jeremiah and the people of his faithfulness: "For surely I know the plans I have for you, Plans for your welfare and not your harm, To give you a future with hope." (Jeremiah 29:11)
We worry too. About the current political upheaval , not only in our own country but in places as diverse as North Korea, Afghanistan and even the USA.
We worry about the enormous population movements as many in the Middle East flee from war and persecution.
We worry about the disregard for international law and order as innocent people are mow down in Las Vegas, Barcelona, Nice, London and other cities across our world.
Perhaps though your worries aren't "out there." Perhaps your worries are inside you:
Secret concerns about your health,
Private worries about your marriage,
Hidden fears for your children and grandchildren,
Concealed anxieties about the direction your life is taking.
Today, and every day, we all have a choice before us. We can carry that glass of water, that worry, until we are overcome by it. Or we can lay it down and choose to believe God's promise.
"For surely I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare not for harm, to give you a future with hope."
The source of our worry may still be there, but offering each day to God in prayer reassures out souls that God is with us and will never forsake us.
Whatever you may be worrying about today, May the peace of God that passes all understanding, be yours.