Scott Stephens
by Scott Stephens

Scott Stephens is the counseling pastor at West End Baptist Church’s West End Counseling Center, a board member of Redeemer Biblical Counseling Training Institute, and a PhD student in the Biblical Counseling Program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. To find out more about our counseling center (WECC), please call the church at 864-232-7312.


About 20 years ago, Loretta and I bought a restaurant. We managed it in Asheville and Greenville for about ten years—five years in each city. There’s a saying I’ve learned to live by… “I’m glad I did it. I never want to do it again.” That’s the perspective I have on a lot of experiences in my life. As a matter of fact, I want Loretta to put this saying on my tombstone right below my name.

Owning and running a restaurant was one of the hardest things that our family has ever done.  It did okay in Asheville, but we moved it to Greenville because this was our home. We believed having a business in Greenville would be wonderful for the family and get us further “plugged in” to the community we love. We built the restaurant in a well-known building on Main Street. We chose the spot because of the projected growth in front of the building. The plans for the area were magnificent, and we were excited to be a part of it.

Long story short, the construction blocked our business for four of the five years we were open. Our dream quickly became a nightmare. We went through a few years of wondering if we would lose everything.

Please understand. This venture was not something that we rushed into. We prayed. We sought advice. We had others pray for us. And we prayed more.  

I realize now that my prayers focused on my happiness and prosperity. God, in his grace and love, would use this time in my life for my sanctification. It wasn’t my happiness and prosperity He was concerned with. He was concerned with my holiness.

Believe it or not, this time in our lives was the greatest blessing for me and Loretta. Not because the business turned around and was a big success. It didn’t. It was because God worked in my heart to make me a better husband, father, and follower of Jesus through this time of trouble.

One of my best lessons was to trust in God’s goodness and love. Worry overwhelmed me each day. I had to pay vendors, employees, the government, my landlord, etc. It seemed like a never-ending list. Construction would usually block our entranceway, so if we had $100 in sales for lunch, that would be a good day.

I learned quickly that this was a circumstance that I could not control. I was at the end of myself, and all I could do was lean on the One who could handle it. My worry was something that I had to address. My greatest obstacle was my lack of faith; would God help me? I remembered that Scripture claims that I should not be anxious about anything, but in everything, I should make my requests known to God (Phil 4:6-9). I memorized this verse, and every time I began to worry, I would stop myself and repeat, “Be anxious for nothing.” By doing this simple thing, I was refocusing my thoughts on God, taking them off of the problems of this world (Proverbs 3:5-6).

To strengthen my relationship with the Lord, I studied His Word. It was haphazard initially, but I believe the Lord guided me to the passages He wanted me to learn. Matthew 6:34 says, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” As I struggled to overcome the act of worrying, I realized that I needed to heed God’s Word and focus only on the issues I was confronted with today. This didn’t mean that I stopped planning for and praying about tomorrow. It did mean that my focus was to address only the concerns of the present day. Even then, sometimes, the day seemed too long and too much to bear, so I focused on smaller increments. There were times when my focus was only on the next five minutes. Breaking it down into manageable parts made all the difference. I may be unable to have faith and not worry for an entire day, but I can do it for the next five minutes!

I found that worry is something I can overcome! It takes work, prayer, and time in the Word, but worry can be conquered. Amazingly, as the worry subsides, faith in the providence and loving goodness of the Lord grows. Peace comes from knowing God loves me and is concerned about my holiness. His ways are always the best, and He will never do anything that will harm me (Jeremiah 29:11).

All of the things that I experienced during this trying time have been used for my good (Rom 8:28). Thanks to God, the trials were used to make me more like His Son Jesus (Rom 8:29). I am so grateful for the time I had in the restaurant. I didn’t earn much money but received something more eternally valuable: the knowledge that God, the Creator of the universe, loves me and has promised to provide for me. Better yet, He’s made me aware that I’m just a traveler on this earth for a short while, and one day, I’ll be home!

Now, when I consider that, what do I have to worry about?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *