Anxiety. The online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as a “painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind usually over an impending or anticipated ill”; “an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs (as sweating, tension, and increased pulse), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it.” One anonymous quote I came across puts it this way: “Living with anxiety is like being followed by a voice. It knows all your insecurities and uses them against you. It gets to the point when it’s the loudest voice in the room. The only one you can hear.” Does any of that sound familiar?
The daily onslaught of news, fake and otherwise, often paint a dismal picture of struggling economies, fears over job security, random mass shootings in some places, and complex political/geopolitical issues. These are challenging times for many and there are real fears and concerns that provoke thoughts and worry minds. The Christian is not immune to these events, fears, and concerns. If we are not careful, we could easily find ourselves overwhelmed by our individual circumstances. Instead of keeping our eyes on the God of our salvation, we focus instead on the “contrary winds” howling around us. To avoid such a situation, we hear the Psalmist cry out, “Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer . . . when my heart is overwhelmed and fainting; lead me to the rock that is higher than I [yes, a rock that is too high for me]. For You have been a shelter and a refuge for me, a strong tower against the enemy” (61:1, 2b-3, Amplified). When faced with life’s storms, a shelter, a refuge, and a strong tower are exactly what we need. The good news is that we can find them in God.
The disciples of Jesus faced their own anxious moments as He spoke to them about His departure (John 13:31-36). We find in His response words that should encourage the heart that is anxious over any circumstances: “Do not let your heart be troubled (afraid, cowardly). Believe [confidently] in God and trust in Him, [have faith, hold on to it, rely on it, keep going and] believe also in Me” (14:1). Things are not looking good? Let not your heart be troubled! Bad news everywhere? Let not your heart be troubled! Feeling overwhelmed? Stop and exhale. Let not your heart be troubled!
The pattern is obvious. God is not limited by what the global economies are doing, or by any of the other personal challenges we are facing. He knows how to take care of His own and “those who trust in, lean on, and confidently hope in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides and stands fast forever” (Psalm 125:1, Amplified). Now is as good a time as any to cast those cares and fears upon Him. Why not give it a try?