More likely the last twenty four minutes.
And I would win.
Not I, you say. I am a positive upbeat soul, a veritable Alfred E. Neuman. What, me worry?
Hold on, now. Ask your mother if you worry. Or your wife, or husband, or kids, or boss, or co-workers. At least one of them would tell you different, you worry wart. I guarantee it.
Worry by our very nature waits, crouched in our bowels, a primeval survival mechanism born back when the earth was still steamy and moist with its own birth, and unimaginable violence lurked in its deepest, blackest places. Worry lives in us so that we can be ready in case a tyrannosaurus rex (did man co-exist with those?) or a serial killer jumps out, or a flood fills the cave we live in.
The worst that could happen, back when the world was new, was just a whole lot more LIKELY to happen than it is today, here in this age of antibiotics and education and law enforcement and subsidized housing.
Still, there is plenty to worry about.
Indeed, awful things still do happen. We know what they are.
Just as often, mercy intervenes, when it is not yet our time. I am reminded of a friend who lived in Half Moon Bay with his wife and toddler, back in the '70's. It was a crystal blue day with a stiff chill, characteristic of Peninsula towns, and the extended family was gathered with neighbors out front, roasting corn and chicken on the grill, trading stories and sipping spiked punch, while the babies waddled and dug in the dirt and played with the kittens. John Barleycorn Must Die and Cream and Paul Butterfield blared out through the front door from the stacked turntable inside.
How quickly it happened, there while they celebrated. A moment turned away, and my friend's toddler was face down in the shallow pond, dark stains of green water already soaking up the sides of his red overalls - still as death.
His mother turned, saw, screamed, dropped her cup, panic cutting her from throat to gut in a single stroke. She was halfway there in less than a second.
But even quicker, the neighbor's goose, on the scene before the mother ever reached her baby's side, had snatched the baby up by the straps of his overalls and flipped him onto his side, out into the dirt.
Seeing the child who had grown up as his own, he had crossed the yard in two gallops, wings outstretched like a squawking barnyard angel. The baby's plump cheeks lay flat, pallid. Then, one cough, one gag, a rush of green. An ambulance ride with a new teddy, gifted by the EMT. Safe.
Yes, things we don't like will happen. But so much GOOD, so much warm, so much organized and safe and beautiful will happen right alongside the bad things to soften the blow. We have so much to be thankful for.
Most important, we must ask ourselves the question: Do I BELIEVE? Do I believe in a higher power who organizes my life, who has mercy on me, who sends barnyard angels to save me? A higher power who loves me?
I believe that Jesus is the living Son of God, on this Sunday. That God came to earth in human form to show us what love looks like, that He allowed us to kill Him on purpose so that He could become a Soul that would be our Holy Spirit.
He breathed His Spirit into John's mouth before He left this earth. He breathes it into us whenever we ask Him to.
I believe that He is our daily Counselor who lives within us and moves us with His own hands to do His best in this world. That He rescues us every second, and that if it appears He will not rescue us, He has so much better planned for us that we can't even see yet. That it might even be Heaven He has for us, right now, today.
Believing this requires trust. He will teach you to trust, if you ask. But you have to ASK.
Worry is good when it moves you to prayer - to ASK. Worry is bad when it simply moves you to greater worry.
Genesis 10:13 -15. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my permanent promise to you and to all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will be seen in the clouds, and I will remember my covenant with you and with everything that lives. This was written back when the earth was still fresh and wet with its own birth, and really wet from a super big flood that required Noah to trust.
Psalm 37:1-2. Don't worry about the wicked. Don't envy those who do wrong. For like grass, they soon fade away. Like springtime flowers, they soon wither. Given by God to David, a man after His own heart.
Matthew 6:28-30. Why worry about your clothes? Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won't he more surely care for you? Straight from the mouth of Jesus, the right hand of the Three in One.
I believe, and have seen with my own eyes, that there are barnyard angels lined up to get me to the perfect destination He has planned for me. He moves them with His own hands to save my bacon every day.
I believe I must trust Him and do as he expects - must listen to His small voice instead of the clamor of my own worry - especially in case it's my job to be someone's barnyard angel today.
I am a worry wart, I confess it. I must lay it down and pray through it every day of my life. There is SO much to worry about.
But there is ever so much more to be thankful for. What a life! What a sky! What a beautiful warm fire. My family - there are no words. I love my job so very much. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you.
I love you. He loves you more. Don't worry. Be happy.