WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL – Anxious Times, Anxious Hearts

Anxiety. The online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “apprehensive uneasiness or nervousness 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.” Does any of that sound familiar?

The coronavirus, COVID-19, has certainly gotten the world’s attention.  As global leaders and economies continue to struggle with the fallout, it seems we are greeted every day with less than positive news and forecasts.  It is in these environments that anxiety becomes even more ​chronic​. These are challenging times for many and there are real fears and concerns that provoke thoughts and worry minds. ​Professing Christians​ ​are​ 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” (61:1,2b,3a, Amplified). When faced with life’s storms, a shelter and a refuge are exactly what we need. The good news is that we can find them both 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. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me” (14:1, KJV). Things may not look too good, but let not your heart be troubled. Bad news everywhere, but let not your heart be troubled. The pattern is obvious. God is not limited by what COVID-19 and the global economies are doing. 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).

Obviously, we cannot be so spiritually minded that we are of no earthly good.  In these challenging times, we have an obligation to do our part.  While we do not​ live our​ lives in fear, we need to be cognizant of the times and exercise wisdom accordingly.  As we do our due diligence and take the necessary precautions as health officials advise us to, it is worth remembering that despite how things look, God is still in charge.  He is still seated on His throne.  The cross reminds us that in the end, His plans and purposes will prevail. Those fears and anxieties we feel?  Now is as good a time as any to cast them upon Him and rest in His peace. Why not give it a try?