The Age of Anxiety — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

The Age of Anxiety — Morning Devotions

After the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears our society is suffering with anxiety in a way we've never seen before. So how do we deal with it?

By Chris WittsFriday 28 Oct 2022Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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One of the results of the Covid-19 pandemic is anxiety. Studies have repeatedly shown that we are now more anxious than ever before. Life changed for everyone. When the virus hit our towns and cities, our way of life changed. We had to grapple with new ways of shopping, even meeting with our family’s. So it’s no wonder we felt anxious and afraid, unsure of how everything would end up.

Sometimes if only we could calm down before we blow up. It’s interesting to note that whether you look back 20 or 60 years, every generation dubs itself the age of anxiety. And the studies I’ve seen say that about one in four men and four in 10 women will develop an anxiety disorder at some point during their lifetime, and that really is a cause for concern. Anxiety – it’s a normal reaction to stress.

Everyone feels some level of nervousness to situations in their lives. But anxiety disorders are characterised by this excessive fear or anxiety that affects a person’s ability to function, and that can lead to us avoiding situations in social engagements or professional functions, or even doing normal things. Day by day it can affect our jobs, education and the way we relate to others. So anxiety is our body’s natural response to stress.

Can religion be a help to those who are highly anxious? The answer is yes. Many religious people still experience anxiety, but it’s possible to experience freedom amidst that struggle because religion can provide a sense of hope and purpose that helps us cope with our anxieties, and especially in the Christian faith that teaches about a personal God, who knows us, loves us and promises to help in our daily lives.

Now these perspectives are very relevant because of according to one study, having high levels of spirituality and religiosity are associated with better quality of life with optimism and happiness, and that’s really interesting. Religion and spirituality provide community connection, belonging, a practise of caring and habits that will help us deal with the difficulties of our age. The Bible’s got some extraordinary examples of people who knew how to live in peace in spite of terrible situations. And David was one of these people.

David faced betrayal, emotional sabotage and rebellion by his family and loved ones. He led in a very anxious environment. He faced a revolt from those closest to him. And yet David is recognised in the Bible as one of the most outstanding leaders in the world. David wasn’t king because he possessed natural leadership abilities. He was a non-anxious presence because he had the presence of God. He trusted in Almighty God, to lead him and to lead his days, no matter what. David was a shepherd. And in the picture of a shepherd, we find a biblical model of leadership. God is talked about as the shepherd God. David the shepherd, a man after God’s heart was formed. His abilities were formed in this remote environment, but he became king of Israel, a hugely important role – full of danger. And yet here he was the same man known as the Shepherd King and wrote the beautiful Psalm 23 we have in the Old Testament. In Psalm 23 he declared, “The Lord is his shepherd.”

When he was saying that he was expressing his own dependency on God, the shepherd makes him lie down in green pastures, it says in verse two. It’s important to note that sheep are anxious creatures, and anxiety over a predator can send them into a panic. But David had learned how to live in his age, of anxiety, by having complete trust in a reliable and all-powerful God who will always be by his side no matter what. And that’s true today as well. For you and me, the only presence that can calm our anxiety is the peace of God.

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And this flows from giving our whole life to Jesus Christ and to depend on him for everything. We can only be a non-anxious person when we are filled with God’s peaceful presence through the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Let’s Pray

Lord, while it’s true, we live in an age of anxiety, your presence can help us to calm down, to approach life, as David did saying, “Lord, you are my shepherd” and today Lord, I seek that calmness and assurance for all those today who are looking for a sense of meaning and peace. Bless them with your presence, I pray. Amen.