Everyone is familiar with anxiety today because there are so many people that are caught up in the trap of anxiety. But what is anxiety?
Well, according to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary it is defined as painful or apprehensive uneasiness of the mind. In other words, not sure about what’s going on, fearful and worrying about what might happen in the process of circumstances in time. Everyone, as I say, is familiar with anxiety because today it has reached epidemic proportions. And many people have seen their doctor because of anxiety or panic attacks.
And so they go to their doctors trying to find a resolution to this and in some cases that is exactly what must be done. But there is also something else that we need to look at, that the world does not teach and that is God’s solution—God’s resolution for overcoming anxiety because the world today is getting more fearful and apprehensive. Do you agree?
We are now faced with new threats that we have never been faced with before. Every day now, we are constantly reminded of the ‘War on Terrorism’. People become fearful, apprehensive, fretful, not knowing what’s coming next.
So how do you maintain tranquillity, peace of mind? Linked to anxiety is worry. Anxiety produces worry. And when people start to worry, they need to remember Bobby McFerrin’s song years ago—it says, Don’t worry, don’t worry. That was the key part of that song: Don’t worry. And he would keep hitting that point.
In the Bible we read the words of Jesus who said “…in me you may have peace” (John 16:33 – NIV). What God offers is a real solution because he knows that anxiety and worry are counterproductive to the mind of a man and a woman. It’s counterproductive. It doesn’t get you anywhere. It has been said that anxiety and worry will give you a fast get-away on a wooden horse because it’s not going anywhere. It’s counterproductive.
You know, isn’t it interesting?, we don’t find anywhere where Jesus made the statement to his disciples for all of us to learn, You shall go about worrying. You shall frustrate yourself to death. It’s not there. He tells us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me” (John 14:1 – NLT). Jesus says that is the confidence that he always generated because he had this confidence from his Father.
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And that is shared with us through the power of God’s spirit, now that Christ is our High Priest at the right hand of the Father. We can have the “peace of God that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) in Christ Jesus as he lives his life in us again. But because of that human factor—because we all have it—it doesn’t mean that this is just suddenly going to wash away all anxieties, fears, doubts and worries. But God’s love is so deep it can help us overcome anxiety.
Anxiety, whether real or imagined, gives the feeling of vulnerability. It gives the feeling of inadequacy. Have you ever felt vulnerable? Have you ever felt inadequate? We all do from time to time depending on the circumstances we face. And God says, No, you are my sons and daughters and I want your minds to be at peace. He has given us a mind that is a mind of soundness, not a mind that is all in a state of upheaval.
Look to God for Guidance and Help
There are some wonderful verses in the Bible that give us an alternative to anxiety. Proverbs 3:23-24 says: “You will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet”. Isn’t that wonderful to lie down and not be afraid? How many people lie down and are afraid every night? There are a lot of people who can’t even sleep. Then verse 25 says, “Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence”.
If your faith and confidence is in trusting God, God says, Hey, this is my battle. I will fight it for you. But we’ve got to let him fight for us.
From time to time, we feel helpless. Have you ever felt helpless in a situation? I’m sure you have. It’s a situation that leaves you just kind of hanging. What do I do? I feel helpless. What do I do? The answer is, you look to God for guidance and help. Let’s notice that Paul writes about these things. Why does he write about it? Because Paul felt insecure at times. Paul felt helpless at times.
But he constantly went back to where he knew his source of strength and deliverance would come from. So that he wasn’t filled with all kinds of anxieties and problems and difficulties—although they would surge from time to time in his life like they would in anyone else’s life. He wrote, “What then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
Who can be against us if God is for us. If God says, Hey, I state my claim to protect you, to fight for you, to watch over you. Who is out there that is stronger than me that can take you out of my hand? I will defend you. You are looking to me. That makes it personal for God. When you look, it says the eyes of the Lord are upon those that fear him.
You cry out to God and you fear God and trust God and say, God, I feel helpless, I feel my back’s to the wall. Please, fight for me. Do you think he won’t? According to the scripture, it says he will when we feel isolated.
United Church of God.