How to not worry about anything (1 Samuel 9)

The number of times that I have sat back in my chair at work and seriously thought, This is impossible, are few, but not zero.

I still remember the panic of one of those times. I was still a junior developer, only a year or so out of college. My task was to upgrade one of the pages on our website. It was tedious, but simple work – until I started working on the navigation menu.

A project that should have taken a week was suddenly taking three times that long, and counting! Something was broken and I couldn’t figure it out. I tried everything. I googled every possibility I could think of. Nothing worked.

So I sat back – stressed, worried, close to tears – and thought, This is impossible.

My reaction probably sounds reasonable, and it felt reasonable. It still feels like a normal response to such a situation.

But what if I told you that these kinds of situations don’t need to run up our blood pressure, turn us into crying messes, or paralyze us with fear and worry?

What if it was possible not to worry about anything?

Bring every little thing to God…

Worry is the first emotion mentioned in 1 Samuel 9.

We’ve been introduced to Saul. His dad’s name is Kish, and Kish has lost his donkeys. They ran away or something.

So Saul and a family servant head out in search of the donkeys. They find nothing. Saul begins to worry that his dad will start to worry if he and the servant don’t turn up at home really soon (verse 5).

Saul’s ready to head back, but the servant tells him to take a chill pill for just a second. “Why don’t we ask a prophet?”

It sounds funny to me. Go to a prophet over some missing donkeys? Spend the time, money (verse 8), and effort to travel to a prophet because you can’t find an animal?

Going to a prophet is a journey, a pilgrimage! It’s something you do for the direst of circumstances, in life or death situations!

Not for donkeys.

But Saul agrees. So they go to town to look for the Prophet Samuel.

And it’s a reminder that we can go to God for anything. We can all agree that you’re supposed to pray for big things, but for some reason we think we should handle the small things ourselves.

But God never said that. God loves us and wants to be a part of our lives. He wants to hear about everything that’s on our mind, from the big to the small. And if He can work big miracles, He can definitely work small ones, too.

So don’t be embarrassed. Go ahead! Be like Saul and his servant. Come to God over the littlest, tiniest things, because He cares.

…and remember that He’s already thought of everything

On they travel, Saul and his servant, in search of the Prophet of God.

But there’s a plot twist. The Prophet Samuel is already on his way out – in search of Saul.

While Saul was worrying about donkeys, God was elbow-deep in plans for Saul’s future – plans to prosper him and give him hope. Saul was looking for donkeys, but God had already named him the first king of Israel.

How’s that for an answer to worry? Even though we’re unaware of it, God is working on our lives and on our futures. He knows what we need. He knows what’s best for us; things that would never even cross our minds.

It requires faith to believe this, and that is the hard part. But we can pray for faith. We can exercise our faith. We can grow our faith.

And isn’t the peace of knowing that God’s got this under control worth that effort? The God of the Universe has His perfect hands on my life.

What’s there to worry about?

“Please let Me do amazing things in your life.”

I finally did it.

I prayed over that stupid navigation menu.

I was at my wit’s end. All out of ideas. All out of pride. All of my stubbornness and assurance that I could figure this out myself completely dried up.

So I finally asked God for help and I kid you not, I had the solution in about fifteen minutes.

I know my junior web developer woes are small compared to the worries and struggles and fears we all face on this planet every day, but this episode taught me about humility.

I saw that I lacked it. I saw that I needed it. I saw that God requires it.

Letting go of our worries sounds great, but turning control of our life over to God does not. But the two things go hand in hand.

We don’t really trust God with our little things and big things if we haven’t surrendered all of our things to Him. We don’t really believe that He has good plans for us if we won’t give Him the authority in our lives to make it happen.

I’ll be honest; I haven’t experienced complete freedom from worry and stress.

But I have to believe that when God says “Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything” (Philippians 4:6) and “I know the plans I have for you” (Jeremiah 29:11), He’s not making stuff up for our amusement.

Those words are promises that He intends to keep if I – if we – give Him our lives.

So let’s try to give everything, including our worries, over to God. Maybe we, like Saul, will be surprised to see what God has in store.

What do you think? What worries are on your mind right now that you can bring to God?

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