Ramblin’ man? More like worrying man
Published 7:58 pm Tuesday, September 26, 2023
By Les Ferguson, Jr.
The legendary Allman Brothers Band had a hit with their song Ramblin’ Man.
Maybe you’ll remember the lyrics: “Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man – Tryin’ to make a livin’ and doin’ the best I can..,”
I’ve sung along to that song many times since it first aired on the radio back in 1973. These days I think I should change the lyrics to reflect an ongoing issue in my life.
In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus clearly tells us that we shouldn’t worry. Over and over in scripture, we are taught to not be anxious, to trust God, and to not worry.
But that message has mostly fallen on deaf ears where I’m concerned.
I worry. I get anxious. I give my fears more power than they ought to have.
And frankly, more times than not, what I fret about never materializes. And if it does, it never rises to the level of distress I’ve created in my mind.
So, in many respects, I might as well be singing “Lord, I was born a worrying man.”
Maybe you resonate with that. Or maybe you might substitute a different word, a different struggle.
But back to me. Why do I worry? Why do I stress? Why do I get vexed over things that have not happened and likely never will? Because I like to be in control and when I’m not, I can’t determine the outcome.
And just like that, the “what ifs” play on repeat. And given enough time, the volume gets louder and louder as the voice in my head gets more strident. Before you know it, my entire existence is consumed with a worry Jesus said I shouldn’t have.
“And you call yourself a preacher?” Why yes, yes, I do. As it turns out, I’m just as human as the next guy. Do I have other flaws? You betcha. Just don’t ask my wife and kids – I’d like to retain my dignity for a couple more minutes at least.
But in full transparency, worry is the thorn in my flesh. And just when I think I’ve got a handle on it, here comes the next thing that really needs me to worry.
Needs? Yes, some situations cry out and beg for it and who am I to miss a good opportunity?
My latest fear? You may be reading this today while I’m in the doctor’s office. And I’m worried. Not foaming at the mouth, pulling my hair out, and flirting with a heart attack kind of worried, but worried, nonetheless.
Will it be good news? Is my back healing? Can I have a procedure that will fix this? When will I be better?
I’m not the first or last to have valid fears and worries. Maybe it’s an adult child making bad decisions. Or the economy. Or the next president. There are innumerable things to worry about. And yet as the old cliché goes, “worrying never gets you anywhere good.”
Maybe you have a worry today that is eating away at you. If so, I understand. No judgment from this guy. But since we are in the realm of maybe, maybe together we can remember and lean on the words of the Apostle Peter.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7 CSB)
God cares and so do I!
Write to Les Ferguson, Jr., is minister at firstname.lastname@example.org