The Worry Tree

Friday morning I spent a few minutes watching our dog, Molly. In my amusement with her, I was struck by an interesting thought that I wanted to share.

Molly is a chaser. She loves to chase anything that will try to get away. Thursday night when she went outside for a walk before bed, she startled a raccoon that was stealing some deer corn, and it promptly climbed up a tree in the yard in order to get away from her. With the raccoon treed, Molly paced back and forth at the base of the tree, sniffing every spot the raccoon had touched. She would look up the tree to try to see the raccoon, and occasionally she would bark at it. She finally laid down on the ground, guarding the tree, in case the little bandit decided to come down. But eventually Molly had to surrender her post and come inside for the night.

Friday morning when it was time for Molly to go back outside again, she made a bee line for that tree. She resumed the routine from the night before…pacing back and forth, sniffing all around, looking up, and then finally lying down to guard. As I watched her, I couldn’t help but laugh. Molly didn’t seem to even consider the fact that in the 8 hours she’d been inside sleeping, the situation had changed. The raccoon had undoubtedly come down from the tree and gone home hours ago. But Molly was so consumed with the fact it had been there, she couldn’t help but focus all of her energy on worrying about it. As all of this unfolded, it was as if the Holy Spirit gently tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Hey, Sarah, that’s you.”

As much as Molly is a chaser, I am a worrier. I don’t know how often I get stuck in one place, pacing back and forth, getting tired and dropping to the ground, but all the while fretting over something I can’t do anything about. When I remember that God is in control, I turn it over to Him. I let Him take over the worrying for me, and I’m able to leave it there, at HIS tree.

But how many times do I get up the next day, and run right back to the problem and begin the cycle all over again? All the while, I’m sure God is looking out the window, shaking His head at me. How often have I failed to realize that it’s already gone, or that the circumstances have changed? I get so focused on trying to work it out for myself that I forget that God already has the solution planned. I am sure that God must have to just laugh sometimes at how stubborn I can be, and how plainly my humanity reveals my need for Him.

Lord, help me today to remember that You have a plan for every circumstance I will encounter. I don’t need to exhaust all my energy at the Worry Tree. You wiped all my cares away when You hung on that tree for me.