Many years ago, someone came up with some statistics concerning the reality of worry in our society. It was noted that about 97 percent of all issues over which we stress are either things which shall never come to pass or else above our abilities to resolve. There is only a minuscule amount of issues in our lives in which we are capable of taking proactive measures to resolve.

But yet, we human beings are determined to carry heavy weights on our shoulders and place undue pressure on our minds, that we just simply were not designed to bear. I'm afraid I find myself obsessing over something horrible that could happen - and then living in fear as if it has become a reality. What an absolute waste of brain power and needless pressure on the soul.

Wouldn't you love to get rid of this albatross of worry from your heart and mind? It's easy to preach about -- and even easier to write columns about -- but while I am typing these soothing, comforting words, I'm wondering if my son, who works for Triple-A Roadside Service is servicing a broken down vehicle on a Walmart parking lot, or if he is on a dangerously busy off-ramp on Interstate Highway 25 out of Denver. I'm wondering if the tires on my daughter's and son-in-law's van have enough tread to transport themselves and their seven beautiful children down the highway on their trip as we speak.

Here are some Bible principles to help us overcome worry: These aren't just for you - they're for me as well.

1. If you're worried, pray. Philippians 4:6 says, "Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God." In other words, don't worry about anything -- but pray about everything with a spirit of thanksgiving in your heart. Then turn it over to God, Who is well able to handle it.

2. If you're worried, take note of the great care God gives his creation. Luke 12;24 tells us that God feeds the ravens, which have no barns nor storehouse to stockpile food. And how about the lilies of the fields. They have no worries nor fretting, yet God clothes them even more elaborately than the richest man who ever lived (King Solomon) Did you ever look at a microscopic view of the petals of a lily? The designs are overwhelmingly striking and beautiful. It makes our checks, plaids, and paisleys look cheap. Then Jesus gives us the soothing words, "If God takes great care for the grass of the field, how much more will he clothe you - O ye of little faith?" Luke 12:28.

3. Don't worry about things over which you have no control. Luke 12:25. Can you add length of years to your life by worrying? No, but worry can certainly shorten it. Can you add inches to your physical height? No, God has already written the end results of that into your DNA. As a school-age boy, I thought I could eat vast amounts of Cheerios and hang from my mother's clothesline pole for several minutes a day in a quest to become 6 feet 6 inches. Well, it didn't work -- try as I might, I couldn't get above 5 feet 11 inches.

4. Don't worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. Luke 12:29-30.

5. Don't doubt God's ability to provide. Luke 12:29.

No, I haven't come to a place in my life where I am totally devoid of worry. But I know where to go to find solace in times of distress -- the Word of God.

You can go there too.

_____

Paul Gauntt currently serves as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Palmer.