CAGES AND CHAINS – Rattling Cages • Worry • 7/18/21

Millions of Americans are living stressed out and anxious lives. Polls tell us that around 50% of people are worried about the economy and personal health issues. In the New Testament, there is a familiar story about Jesus and his disciples that helps us learn about worry. Jesus and the disciples were in a small fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee during a sudden and unexpected fierce storm. In the story, we see some universal causes of worry. We also see some of the things God can do in our lives to break the chains of worry. As the storm starts to sweep over the water the disciples become stressed out and anxious which is always a precursor to worry! There are three reasons they became anxious and filled with worry: #1 The fierce storm #2 They were in a small boat in a big storm and #3 They thought they were alone in the storm.

Scriptures – 1 Chronicles 29:11; Matthew 6:26-27, 30, 33-34, 8:23-24, 25-27; Luke 8:14; Philippians 4:6; 1 Peter 5:7

Verse – The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Matthew 8:25-27

Thought – The #1 reason we become anxious and begin to worry is because of the problems and storms in our lives. Often when those problems and storms come they are sudden and unexpected. The Covid pandemic was one of life’s unexpected storms. We all know people whose lives were seriously disrupted and, in some cases, destroyed by this storm. Other examples of unexpected storms in our lives are divorce, unemployment, death of a loved one and serious illness. These are some of the storms that sweep over us and wrap us with chains of worry. The question we want answered is, “How does God break the chains of worry in our lives?” It may seem simplistic but to begin to break the worry in your life, you must ask God for help. There came a moment, in the storm, when it got so bad that the disciples went to Jesus, woke him and asked for his help. That moment came when the disciples thought they were going to drown. Many people wait too long to ask for God’s help. The disciples teach us how important it is to ask for God’s help as soon as possible.

Questions – When was the last time you experienced a sudden and unexpected storm of life? Do you believe it is actually possible to not worry about anything? Has there ever been a time in your life that you felt you “were alone in the boat” in the middle of a storm?  How hard is it for you to shift from worrying about a storm or problem to praying about it? What is one thing you have done to increase your faith in a storm? Do you think this is even possible: “Those who are the greatest worriers can become the greatest people of faith?” 

Response – When unexpected problems and storms come into your life, take the action steps in this verse: Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6  Proactive and specific prayer with thankfulness will begin to break the chains of worry in your storm.

Prayer – Dear Lord Jesus, I know that unexpected problems and storms will be a part of my life. I ask that you help me turn those things, that can cause my worry, into an opportunity to increase my faith in you. In Your name I pray. Amen.

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