Thursday, April 16, 2009

Worry Dolls

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Some Guatemalans hide a worry doll under their pillows at night to chase away fears. Cute as a button and about the size of one, these dolls are about a dollar a dozen.

If one teensy, colorful charm doll could chase away troubles, then I wonder what 50 under a pillow would do? They are whimsical and cute and will fit into a birthday card to a worrier, but even if 25 were held in hand, how could a little figurine solve real problems.

What do you do when worry plows a furrow in your brow? Do you fret to any who will listen? Do you whine? Do you count your blessings, hoping to minimize your troubles?

John Jay Chapman says, “People get so in the habit of worry that if you save them from drowning and put them on a bank to dry in the sun with hot chocolate and muffins they wonder whether they are catching cold.”

Statisticians tell us that less than one percent of what we worry about happening ever comes true. Worry is non-productive. I take that back. Worry can cause actual physical ailments. I guess that’s production even though worry-results are negative. A better word to describe worry is “worthless.” Worry is frivolous, a real waste of thought power. How do you best combat worry?

Ralph Gower in The New Manners and Customs of Bible Times tells about ancient, walled cities and how the entrance gates were often very small so that enemies could not storm the gates in droves and gain entrance.

This presented a problem when wagon loads of grain or caravans of camels loaded with goods arrived. However, the cities had a plan. When merchants appeared at the undersized city gates, porters were hired to shoulder the loads. Large bundles were divided into smaller portions and the goods were toted inside the walls.

This picture of porters reminds me of prayer. When troubles mount, the best possible way to “take a load off” is to be a prayer porter. We frail, made-of-dust creatures are not capable of handling the oversized burdens that life often places at our small gates. But God has opened wide heaven’s gates through the life and gift of Jesus Christ. We can take the whole load into our King’s throne room and lay them down.

Belief and trust in God is vital to our physical and spiritual health. I love the comfort found in 2 Samuel 22:17, when David cried out in prayer and describes the help he received from God: “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.”

If you buy worry dolls, do so as cute decorations but not for solutions. Next time you’re tempted to worry, grab your burdens and tote them through heaven’s massive gates. A prayer porter’s wages are strength, confidence, and joy. It’s one of the best salaries in today’s economy.

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