Worry: Wasted Energy

Neal Pollard

I have concluded that worry is wasted energy.  Taking Gary to register for his fall classes last Thursday, we left at a time when Houston was experiencing a series of severe thunderstorms.  Our 5:50 AM flight from Denver to Houston left the ground closer to eight o’clock.  That meant that our hour connection time had long since evaporated and United was good enough to book us seats on the next flight to Mobile, Alabama.  Since it’s approximate 84 miles between each gate at Houston, it took us a while to get over to the gate for our connecting flight.  When we got there, the Customer Service desk was about 84 miles long!  Gary and I pitied them as we walked to B84, only to find out our new flight was canceled.  That kicked off over two hours of phone time with United’s Customer helpline.  Bad weather caused massive delays, cancellations, and out of place planes and crews.  We needed to get Gary to College Bound and the clock seemed to be sprinting.  We checked everything–Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach, Atlanta, Birmingham, Huntsville, Jackson, Meridian, Gulfport, and Montgomery (our final destination).  Nothing was there!  We were on award tickets, which further complicated what seats were available.  I have not always been patient in such circumstances, but I strove to handle each phone call or face to face with service or gate agents with a smile and sympathy.  When it seemed we’d have to take up residence in Houston, a sweet lady at B17 (which is approximately 484 miles from B84) found two seats on our original connection flight.  It had been sitting at the gate all this time (over at A12; you can do the math).  So, with just three hours of delay, Gary and I boarded the plane and even got much better seats.  I was able to visit with a religious man reeling from a recent, unwanted divorce and Gary was able to talk about the church to a “really pretty” young woman.  Everything with the weekend worked out just fine (I will tell you later about the nearly three hour delay while the ground crew changed a tire on the connection back to Denver).

What’s the point of this meandering musing?  What would worry have done in this case?  Gotten us to our destination faster?  Resolved the situation at all?  Yet, too often, these kinds of stressful situations bring out our worst.  We lose our temper.  We rail at others, and usually our victims are as powerless as we are.  We blow out our Christian lights.  I pray that I have been sufficiently reminded of the futility of worry for the next time an opportunity arises.  Instead, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6).  Jesus calls worry futile (cf. Lk. 12:25; Mt. 6:25-34).  Let us trust that He knows best!