Evangelist Billy Graham has said that in order to stop worrying about the future, it's important to understand the depth of God's love for us - and then commit all fears and concerns to God.
In a Q&A published Monday by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the 98-year-old evangelist shared his thoughts in response to a question posed by a reader: "I know we're supposed to trust God instead of worrying all the time, but I just can't help it," the reader said. "Our budget is very tight as it is, and I worry constantly about what will happen if one of us loses our job or something. How can I stop worrying so much?"
Graham contended that it's not wrong to plan ahead or budget money, because otherwise, it's easy to spend on unnecessary things. However, there's a difference between planning ahead and worrying about the future, he said.
He explained: "When we worry, anxiety about the future takes root in our minds and hearts, and we become more and more fearful and unsettled. Constant worry also leads to doubt-doubt in ourselves, but most of all doubt in God and His love for us. And yet worrying never changes anything; as Jesus said, 'Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?' (Matthew 6:27)."
The founder of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association then shared two tips for overcoming worry and anxiety: "First, understand just how much God love you," he said. "If God didn't care about us, we'd have every reason to worry about the future. But He does care for us-and the proof is that He sent His son, Jesus Christ, into the world to give His life for us. If you have never done so, invite Christ into your life today."
Second, commit your worries to God, Graham advised: "When worries grip you, don't let them fester and grow; immediately turn them over to God in prayer. Let the Psalmist's words be your guide: 'Trust in him at all times ... pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge' (Psalm 62:8)."
This is not the first time that Graham has shared his thoughts on anxiety and its effect on one's spiritual life and daily living. In an earlier "My Answers" column, the evangelist said that while it's "not necessarily wrong" to have concerns about the future, excessive worrying is detrimental to both one's physical and spiritual health.
"But this isn't the same thing as worrying about the future or spending all our time fretting about everything that might (or might not) go wrong. When we do that, we easily become overly stressed and emotionally paralyzed - and may even become physically ill," Graham said.
"More than that, we find ourselves worrying about things we can't control or do anything about - so why worry about them? Jesus said, 'Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?' (Matthew 6:27)."
Graham suggested that excessive fear "keeps us from trusting God."
"The cure to worry is trust - trust in God, and trust in His love and protection. God loves us, and the proof is Jesus Christ, who gave His life for our salvation," Graham said.
"If we can trust God for our eternal salvation, can't we also trust Him for our daily needs? Jesus said, 'Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself,' (Matthew 6:34)."
Graham continued: "... ask Him to help you put your worries into His hands every day. When anxieties come, bring them to God in prayer. When worries threaten, answer them with God's promises."