Can worry actually make a person sick? Yes, it really happens.
“The deep-seated fear of not having enough money is responsible for nine out of ten illnesses in this country,” says Dr. Irene Hickman of California State University in Sacramento. “In addition, it prolongs other illnesses by aggravating a patient’s physical condition.”
Worry causes stress. And stress leads to ulcers, high blood pressure, allergies, heart troubles, gastrointestinal diseases, headaches, and other problems.
Worrying about money affects the affluent as well as those in lower income brackets. In our “buy now, pay later” society, even the rich live beyond their means. And while some people worry because they can hardly pay for the bare necessities, others worry because they can’t keep up with the lifestyle of the richest people in town.
The foolishness of worry
Worry never gets us anything but grief! It doesn’t solve problems — but it certainly can increase them.
Charles H. Mayo writes in The American Mercury, “Worry affects the circulation, the glands, the whole nervous system. I have never known a man who died from overwork, but many who died from doubt.”
When people are prone to worry, they can always find something to worry about. They might lose their jobs. They might lose their savings through some catastrophe or illness.
Avoiding stress and worry
One way to avoid stress is to stay out of debt. Some things — like a home or a car — may have to be purchased “on time.” Most of us would be unable to get them otherwise. Unfortunately, even in these necessary purchases, we may go in way over our heads and owe more in monthly payments than we can manage. We can save ourselves a lot of worry if our monthly payments are affordable. Also, we can save a lot of money in interest when we pay cash.
We can also realize the truth expressed by Dr. Paul E. Adolph in his book Release from Tension. “Anxiety and worry represent forms of fear which project themselves into the future and often concern themselves with imaginary situations which never come to pass. Indeed, it often happens when the future situation arrives, it is devoid of all the contemplated elements which are anticipated.”
But the most significant way we can avoid worry over money matters is to bring everything to the Lord in prayer. And then leave it with Him (Philippians 4:6-8). We can be free from all our cares by casting them upon Him (1 Peter 5:7). If you do this,“the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
I knew a man who felt called to full-time Christian ministry, but he had a wife and three children. On the seminary application form he had to list his means of support, so he wrote, “Philippians 4:19,” where Paul says, “My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
Is there any better security than this verse of Scripture? That man had no visible means of support, but he had an invisible means who was entirely adequate! I have known many other Christians who depended on the Lord completely to meet all their needs. In fact, when I stepped out in faith to serve the Lord as a full-time writer, I had to believe that He would meet all the needs of myself and my little girl.
Of course, some money worries arise from a failure to honor the Lord in budgeting. Some Christians overlook Proverbs 3:9-10, which says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”
When we faithfully serve the Lord with our tithes and offerings, it is remarkable how well our income seems to fit our needs. I found this to be true in my own life.
When we exchange our worries for trust, our faith in God grows exponentially. And the bonus is that He will supply all our needs!