Do Not Be Anxious
by John C. Westervelt
As a youth while reading “do not be anxious” in the ending verses of the sixth chapter of Matthew, I thought, “Who is ever anxious?” Little did I know that familiarity with those verses would be life-saving thirty years later.
After seven years with Century Electronics in Tulsa, I went to work as a design engineer at Rockwell in Tulsa at the beginning of the Apollo moon landing program in 1962. Those were exciting times as we designed ground support equipment for space systems that never previously existed.
Seven years after the Apollo Program began, Nelda, Paul, Mary Kim, and I joined friends at their house to watch the lunar landing. What we saw is best stated on a NASA webpage. “On July 20, 1969, the human race accomplished its single greatest technological achievement of all time when a human first set foot on another celestial body.”
As I watched the Lunar Module land on the moon, I had a feeling of awe and satisfaction. At the same time, I had a feeling of concern about what the future held in store for me with the completion of Apollo design.
By now I had eighty engineers and draftsmen working for me. To avoid layoffs, I found work for my people on Minuteman Missile guidance reliability analysis. This work was being done by Rockwell’s Autonetics division in California. When this work was finished, layoffs began.
Engineering jobs were scarce in Tulsa. A friend at the utility company said I would have to take a thirty percent pay cut to work for them. I imagined having to move back into a house in our old neighborhood. Anxiety hung on my heart like a millstone.
I began my defense against the pain in the chest by talking to Jesus about His words, “Do not be anxious.” I would add, “But it is so hard.” This was not a one-day rendezvous, but rather went on to varying degrees for five years. I worked on proposals seeking new work. I avoided a layoff, though I did not receive a raise for five years.
During my last year at Rockwell, the company won a contract to build the B1 Bomber. I brought back a few engineers and draftsmen. Then President Carter cancelled the B1 program. Unbeknownst to me, President Carter did me a favor.
I took a layoff from Rockwell at age forty-nine and found fulfilling engineering work at Amoco Research Laboratories in Tulsa. I retired at age sixty-seven and then worked half-time as a consultant for five more years.
I never stop talking to Jesus about His admonition not to be anxious. Knowing my demeanor, Satan keeps trying to send anxiety my way. As a rebuttal, I fill my mind with a picture of a winsome Jesus smiling and saying, “Do not be anxious, John.”
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